I ask for you to read this all the way through. I apologize for the length.
A letter to SAG-AFTRA broadcasters:
If you’ve already sent your ballot in, thank you!
If not, I want to let you know some things about your union that you may not be aware of.
First, there are two different major ‘slates,’ or – for lack of a better word – ‘parties’ in the union.
There’s Unite for Strength. That’s the slate I’m part of. And then there’s Membership First.
The main difference between the two groups is that UFS fought for and supported the merger of SAG and AFTRA. MF opposed it. MF still opposes it and has spent the last few years suing the union to find ways to split it again and take radio and TV broadcasters and anyone who’s not a movie actor out of it.
There are a lot of lies being told by MF and some of their candidates. The truth is that the merger saved BOTH unions. Under MF leadership, SAG was losing money, prestige, and power through financial mismanagement. And we broadcasters are certainly aware of the problems that AFTRA had. The merger saved both of us.
But that’s the past. Here’s the present:
Union efforts on behalf of radio and television broadcasters have increased dramatically since the merger of SAG and AFTRA. And those efforts are meeting with greater success. More broadcast shops and networks are being added to the union than ever before, shops that never considered joining with AFTRA.
Because our merged unions are more powerful together than they were separate.
That’s why it is so maddening to hear opinions expressed in open board meetings that all of SAG-AFTRA’s “problems” stem from the merger with what one Membership First board member called “sick AFTRA.” MF members, because they still oppose the merger, are obstructing any move forward at every turn.
MF is NOT friendly to broadcasters. Their members seem to believe that broadcasters are not equal to screen actors.
Broadcasters comprise a fraction of SAG-AFTRA’s 160,000 members but bring in dues revenue that is much higher than our actual numbers. That’s because by and large most of us make a regular paycheck and collect a regular salary, whereas working actors go from job to job, project to project, and are paid only as those projects are currently produced, and any residuals that come in after.
Broadcasters contribute much more to the pension and health plans that our “small” numbers would suggest. We are VITAL to the union.
That’s why your vote is extremely important this election. And only Unite For Strength and its supporters are actively fighting for the rights of broadcasters as EQUAL members of our union.
NOW, I’M NOT ASKING YOU TO VOTE FOR ME. Why? Well, MF failed once again to find a broadcaster to side with them and run on their slate. So I will be reinstalled in my seat on August 28, along with my UFS broadcast colleagues Hal Eisner, Joy Benedict, and Mike Sakeillerides.
BUT I DO NEED YOUR VOTE. I need you to vote for every UFS candidate because I need backup in the boardroom to hold the line against a faction that is not friendly to broadcaster and seems to not want us in the room.
PLEASE VOTE FOR GABRIELLE CARTERIS for president, CAMRYN MANHEIM for secretary-treasurer, MICHELLE HURD for Los Angeles president, ELLEN CRAWFORD and CLYDE KUSATSU for L.A. vice presidents…
… and ALL Unite for Strength local candidates and convention delegates. (Please see attached images for how to fill out your ballots.)
If broadcasters want to keep the protection they’re getting from SAG-AFTRA and have local boards and a national board that accepts them as equal partners, it is absolutely paramount that they support candidates running with UFS and their colleagues across the country.
Please give me and other broadcast board members the backup we need to fight back against the anti-broadcaster and anti-unified union forces in the board rooms and on the committees.
Please check out uniteforstrength.com for more information, and please see the attached images of a ballot completed that supports broadcasters and a strong, united union.
Rob Archer, Los Angeles Board Member representing broadcasters, union member for 20 years, and a broadcaster for 39 years.