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THE water cooler


IREM Best w ENT A ishes t L! o Fox 2’ Al Alle s n as embar ks on he hi adven s latest ture!

sag-aftra on media

Sunday, January 27 Screen Actors Guild Awards® Viewing Party. Join us in Grand Rapids for a live viewing of the 19th Annual SAG Awards airing on TBS and TNT at 8 p.m.

Winter 2013 ● Volume 1 ● Issue 1

SAG-AFTRA Michigan Member Moments

Save the Date! ●●●●



local happenings MINGLE

Members, elected repr esentati ves, lab or comm unity friends and ind ustry gues ts came toge th er with m usic and grea t conversa tio n at our new offi ce in Octo ber.

Top left: CADET program; Top right: Meeting the Michigan film office staff, and; Bottom: The SAG-AFTRA New Media workshop at Schoolcraft College

“All for one and one for all. “ - Alexandre Dumas

On a National Level: As our two unions are now one, members have a great opportunity to get involved and let their voices be heard. National committee service is one such way. It requires no great experience — just a bit of your time. Meetings are conducted via phone conference — in some cases once a month, in others much less. After running down the list of national committees, I am proud to say that 16 seats are now populated by Michigan members. I happen to enjoy serving on the Agents Relations Committee. I feel it puts me in a position to help our members give agents the tools they need to get us work.


PRESIDENTS Jayne Bower Peter Tocco

I personally would like to thank all of our members who have gotten involved with committee service. Thank you so much for your time and talents. I hope as you read this, you will consider joining your fellow brothers and sisters who have served. SAG-AFTRA has so many committees to serve on, I’m sure you can find one that suits your interest or skills. Remember, a union is only as strong as its members, so I am asking you to think about getting involved. Times are changing in Michigan, and we need a strong union now more than ever.

VICE PRESIDENTS Greg Bowman Steve Goldsmith, Nicole Hakim Yohn SECRETARIES Kimberly Stump, Thomas Watson

When we speak with one voice, all are heard. TREASURERS Don DiPace, Lili Kaufmann

Peter Tocco On a Local Level:

BOARD MEMBERS Ele Bardha, Gerry Cooper, James Cowans, Alex Davis, Rhonda English, Tiren Jhames, Bruce Kavaya, Anne Keeble, Ralph Lister, Laurie Logan, Sandra McNeill, Debra Port, Martha Reeves, Jacqua Scott, Jo-Jo Shutty MacGregor, Jamie Wheatley , Lynne Woodison, Eric Wydra NATIONAL BOARD MEMBERS Jayne Bower, Ed Kelly ♦♦♦♦

Winter in Michigan brings with it awesome challenges, commanding awe-inspiring action by members of the SAG-AFTRA Michigan Local. The good news is it's easy to get involved. Many of our members already serve on SAG-AFTRA national committees. The SAG-AFTRA Michigan Local also offers local committees for broadcasters, performers, conservatory/education and more. SAG-AFTRA members each have unique skills! Whether you're a whiz at computers, have community organizing experience, love to teach others or just make the best barbeque on the planet, there is a place for you at SAG-AFTRA. We have national and local elections coming up in 2013, and invite you to participate. You can be a candidate or simply vote for one. You can give as much or as little time as you can afford. As co-presidents, we have witnessed the true power of people who are united behind a cause. We think SAG-AFTRA works best when members realize that the "u" in "union" really does stand for YOU! “A change is brought about because ordinary people do extraordinary things.” — Barack Obama

Jayne Bower 21599 West Eleven Mile Road, Suite 300 Southfield, MI 48076 248-228-3173 main 248-223-9223 fax SAG-AFTRA MI ● 1

Legislative Affairs

Dear Members, The year 2012 was certainly a momentous year for those of us in Michigan. In January, both the SAG and AFTRA national boards of directors voted overwhelmingly to approve and recommend a plan to merge the two unions. And on March 30, the tallied votes revealed that the large majority of members chose to unite into the singular union of SAG-AFTRA. In April, the leadership of the two Michigan offices of former SAG and former AFTRA immediately coordinated the workings of t wo offices, two sets of staff and two local boards — all toward the goal of strengthening and energizing our local. The two separate offices physically joined as one in August, at the 1ocal’s new location on Eleven Mile Road in Southfield. The new space not only holds adequate office space, but also allows for activities of our members and the film community at large. At the end of October, our local changed its name from the Detroit Local to the Michigan Local — sending the message that our members don’t just stand together in the southeast corner of the state, but from great lake to lake as well. This will also assist our efforts in designing new contractual codes and waivers that will uniquely suit the work in Michigan.

Notes of Interest Do you know what is commissionable to your franchised agent and what is not? For example, the recent Michigan film incentives and increased production brought about this common question: Q: Do I pay my franchised agent commission on my residuals if the production was under the SAG Agreement and used for theatrical exhibition? A: In Michigan, commission is payable only when the employment contract provides for overscale residual payment. Note: This is not the same as obtaining scale plus 10 (or greater) for initial compensation. A franchised agent only gets to commission theatrical residuals if it has negotiated above-scale residuals. For further answers to your questions on commission obligations, you may call the SAG-AFTRA office at (248) 228– 3172 Thanks to the generosity of Phoenix Theatres and Emagine Entertainment, SAG-AFTRA members in Michigan can attend showings of SAG Award-nominated films free of charge. A great member perk, this is a valuable opportunity for you the member to view the nominees before you cast your vote. Attend Monday-Thursday, Jan. 3-24 by showing a SAG-AFTRA ID card with a photo ID. Members can go to any Phoenix or Emagine Theatres .

December 2012 will be known as a very dark month for SAG-AFTRA members, as well as union members throughout our state. On Dec. 11, Governor Snyder signed the bill that turned Michigan into the 24th so-called “right-to-work” state. For further understanding of what this means, please read our column to the right. Also know that the leadership of our local, with the support of our national SAG-AFTRA union, will do whatever we can to reverse this law in the future. In the meantime, we pledge to continually demonstrate the important benefits of our union membership. After all, it is the role of a lifetime. Wishing you a prosperous 2013, Marcia Fishman Executive Director, SAG-AFTRA Michigan Local

In Memoriam—Sonny Eliot SAG-AFTRA members and staff mourn the passing of famed weatherman and Detroit radio and television veteran Sonny Eliot, who died Nov. 15 at home at the age of 91. A broadcaster for more than 60 years, Eliot was a pioneer who brought his own distinct and endearing brand of humor and style to the airwaves. Eliot started his career with appearances on The Lone Ranger and The Green Hornet radio programs. He also appeared on children’s programs, quiz shows and commercials. Sonny was one of the few broadcasters in the country who worked at the same radio station (WWJ Newsradio 950) continuously for more than 60 years. At the same time, he continued his work on television, bringing his jokes and genial personality to the weather and so much more for many years at Channels 2, 4 and 50. He joined AFRA on Sept. 27, 1948 in Detroit and SAG on Oct. 9, 1950. He was a strong supporter of his union throughout his long and distinguished career. Jayne Bower, SAGAFTRA Michigan Local co-president and longtime colleague and friend, shared this about him: "Sonny was so proud of the fact that he joined the union when it was AFRA — before there was even a “T” for television! His professional longevity is overshadowed only by his enormous generosity to his friends, family and fellow broadcasters and union members. He was a treasure.” Eliot was born Marvin Schlossberg on Dec. 5, 1920, and from then onward his life experiences were as interesting and dynamic as he was. While Eliot was known for his lighthearted take on life, he had a serious side as well. He was an avid reader, wrote four children's books, spoke German and French, and understood Spanish. He grew up near downtown Detroit, graduating from Central High School. Before starting a radio and television career that ran longer than that of any other broadcaster in Detroit history, Sonny served his country in World War II as a B-24 bomber pilot. He was shot down over Germany and spent 15 months as a prisoner of war. He went on to earn a B.A. in English and an M.A. in mass communications at Wayne State University, and to serve as captain in the Air Force Reserves. Survivors include his wife, Annette, to whom he was married for more than 50 years. To send a message to Eliot’s family, please visit his memorial page at: A celebration of life — “Always Sonny!” — was held for Eliot on Dec. 6 at Wayne State University.

a farewell and thank you

“Right to Work” ?

The Economic Policy Institute briefing paper No. 326 of Sept. 15, 2011 stated that socalled “right-to-work” laws would be the wrong answer for Michigan’s economy and our future job prospects.” Sadly, Michigan became the 24th “right-towork” state on Dec.12, 2012. Although many claim that “right- to–work” laws encourage economic growth, the Economic Policy Institute establishes in its paper that this is not the case. The Institute states that history has demonstrated that: ❶

So-called “right-to-work” laws have no impact in boosting economic growth.

“Right-to-work” laws have no significant impact on attracting employers to a particular state.

“Right-to-work” laws lower wages for both union and non-union workers alike by an average of $1,500 per year.

“Right-to-work” laws decrease the likelihood that employees get either health insurance or pensions through their jobs.

“Right-to-work” laws threaten to undermine job growth by reducing the discretionary income people have to spend in local businesses.

The definition of a so-called “right-to-work” state is incorrectly understood by so many in our state. While touted merely as a state statute that prohibits making membership or payment of union dues a condition of employment, “right-to-work” is really a kind of freeloader system. Non-members working under union contracts will eventually enjoy all of the benefits of those union contracts, and by law they will not have to pay a dime for the union’s services. That’s like giving people the option to not have to pay taxes but still letting them receive all of the benefits of government services. Does that seem fair? A freeloader system just cannot be the impetus for an economically positive result . In the end, “right-to-work” laws create a downward spiral that hurts all workers and depletes the

Some of you may already have heard that I will be leaving SAGAFTRA in the coming weeks. In the meantime, be assured that while the best possible replacement for the new Michigan director of broadcast is found, I am here as always for you and will be here to facilitate a smooth transition. I hope I will have the chance to see all of you in person before I leave near the first of the year, but failing that, please allow this brief letter to serve as both my farewell and thank you to all of you. For those broadcasters in the midst or nearing the end of station negotiations, or involved in a representational matter, please know that nothing will change at this time. I will continue to represent you, along with your shop stewards/ bargaining committee volunteers and additional counsel when necessary. You should know that the union plans to bring in top national staff to ensure a smooth transition as well. I'm very proud of the work that we accomplished together at AFTRA, and now at SAG-AFTRA. I congratulate the shop stewards at the stations and member leaders for your successful efforts on behalf of your colleagues every day, for hard-fought gains in your negotiations and of course on a successful merger. I'm also very proud to have worked for you and with you, and to have been part of a team of professionals nationwide who have dedicated their working lives to making your lives better. When I leave SAG-AFTRA, I will leave knowing that you are in good hands — with dedicated elected leadership like your Michigan Co-Presidents Jayne Bower and Peter Tocco leading an engaged Board of Directors representing the varied jurisdictions of our membership, along with a great staff, led by an experienced and dedicated Local Executive Director Marcia Fishman and Assistant National Executive Director of News & Broadcast Mary Cavallaro nationally. As for me, I'll continue to be one of your biggest fans, listening to and watching your work on the radio, television and Internet every day — long after I've gone on to pursue a dream in a small business locally. It continues to be my honor and privilege to work on behalf of such a dedicated group of individuals who do such an incredible job of entertaining and informing America every single day — rain or shine. “But once you become active in something, All the best,


something happens to you. You get excited and suddenly you realize you count.” - Studs Terkel

resources at their workplaces. While the name “right-to-work” would have you believe that it is worker-friendly, it is not. Watch for our future meeting, where we will educate our SAG-AFTRA members about the true meaning of “right-to-work.”

Disclaimer... SAG-AFTRA is a union which is comprised of a variety of professionals, including newspersons. The union’s support of any initiative should not be interpreted to be the position of any individual member. As a policy matter and in accordance with the SAG-AFTRA national policies, SAG-AFTRA does not raise funds or endorse political parties or candidates for publicly elected office.

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SAG-AFTRA Michigan On Media Winter 2012/2013  
SAG-AFTRA Michigan On Media Winter 2012/2013  

The Winter 2012/2013 edition of On Media from the SAG-AFTRA Michigan Local.