USAN takes our commitment to the membership seriously.

It is impossible to achieve so much without the diverse skill set of our leadership. We come from all walks of life and all levels of career. We are actors, broadcasters, dancers, singers, stunt performers and recording artists. Our differences challenge us to come together to energize, synergize and maximize the value of SAG-AFTRA for the membership.

Here is just some of what USAN’s Leadership has delivered:

  • MERGER! Many of our USAN key leaders volunteered countless hours on the G1 (Group for One Union) uniting SAG and AFTRA into One Union on March 30, 2012. We have worked tirelessly to make the transition smooth, productive, and successful.

  • ● In the spirit of true cooperation, USAN leaders came together with other board members to write our local constitution, and get us on course to a more efficient local board with the 2013 election.

  • A new Music Video Contract, our first success after merger, which came from a true grass roots organizing effort by our dancers.

  • A new Commercials Contract, our first major contract negotiated as one union, with $238 million in wage increases and other payments. These solid gains were unanimously approved by the National Board and by 96% of the members. This contract is proof of the increased bargaining strength achieved by merger.

  • ● TV/Theatrical and Cable Contracts Negotiations, next in our crosshairs, with W&Ws to come, is already being planned for so that we can realize the power and leverage of one union that can’t be divided with different approaches.

  • ● NY State and City film production tax credits – tens of thousands of new jobs for NY actors.

  • ● NY State COBRA extension bill – so you can keep your health insurance.

  • A single NY Office, to be located in the heart of arts and culture in NY- Lincoln Center will complete the uniting of our staff and save member dues dollars on rent on a monthly basis.

  • Stability with a single National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator, who is knowledgeable, experienced, and respected throughout the industry.

  • Electronic voting – USAN leadership secured electronic voting on the Commercial Contract, saving over $100k in dues money, and we are on track to continue this with all future contracts and referenda, realizing even more savings as we move forward.

  • A new financial plan, with important steps to address SAG-AFTRA’s risky budget shortfall in a responsible way that positions our union to be responsive to our ever-changing industry. USAN Leaders never shy away from sound, fiscally responsible decisions. We pride ourselves in taking care of member dues dollars and the health of our organization.

USAN is dedicated to serving everyone who works in front of a 
camera or behind a microphone.

WORKING WITH THE GOVERNMENT

Here’s what USAN leaders have gone out and secured for NY SAG-AFTRA members in the past several years:

  • TAX INCENTIVES – USAN leaders and staff were instrumental in passing the largest commitment of public funds in the US to boost Film and TV Production.  This means tens of thousands of jobs for NY SAG-AFTRA members – jobs that would have never come to NY if not for this incentive. This program is on qualified production costs is funded at $420 million per year for each of the calendar years 2010-2014.  Since its inception in 2004 the program has attracted 665 film and television projects, generating $10.1 billion in economic activity for New York State and work for NY members.

  • COBRA SUBSIDY PROGRAM – protected and continued the COBRA Subsidy Program, secured through the Actors Fund initiative which SAG was a part of a few years ago.  The COBRA program subsidizes entertainment professionals’ COBRA payments should they fall out of earned coverage.

  • CHILD PERFORMERS EDUCATION – Following the successful updating and strengthening of the CA COOGAN LAW in the late ’90’s, we worked with staff to pass the NY State Child Performer and Education Trust Act.  In the past few years USAN has done much more to expand and improve the implementation and enforcement of this important law.

WORKING WITH OUR FOUNDATIONS

USAN leaders have worked with our union affiliated foundations to increase career programming, scholarships, and health and emergency assistance for New York members through the SAG Foundation and the SAG MPPWF with programs like NYCAP, Conversations, Liferaft, and BookPALS. USAN members initiated the creation of The Superstorm Sandy Fund to help our members impacted by the storm.

CAREER ADVANCEMENT

USAN recognizes our aspiring and struggling artists. It’s what continues to motivate us to work for the membership. Below are committees and programs that speak to our commitment to work toward the empowerment and ultimately the employment of every member possible.

  • “MORE” SEMINARS  – The Member Outreach, Relations & Education (MORE) Committee is exclusive to NY. Its mission statement: A knowledgeable and self-empowered performer makes a better SAG-AFTRA member. In its standing room only “SAG-AFTRA@Work/Business of the Biz” seminars, USAN created programs like “Finding and Making Your Own Work,” “Setting Goals and Following Through,” “Looking for Representation, Maintaining and Developing Good Business Relationships.” These seminars have helped members focus their energies on what they CAN do to set and meet their career goals. Guest speakers share their successes and failures in these endeavors so that members can develop and implement a career plan that makes sense to the individual performer.

  • “MOVE” – Member Organizing Volunteer Efforts (MOVE) Committee – USAN reinvigorated this committee to bring additional SRO sell out seminars like “Working in Episodic TV” “Working in Commercials” and “Working in Corporate/Educational” to educate members on the ins and outs of the contracts employed in these work areas. Volunteer speakers give their anecdotal experiences of the practical application of the contracts in these not to be missed evenings.

  • ROUNDTABLES – Provides an opportunity to more fully flesh out the topic of seminars to be offered to the membership. It’s a great way for members and elected to connect and network with each other and share ideas. It’s the “give and take” of these meetings that are the engine for the success of the MORE and MOVE seminar series.

  • OPEN DOOR– A true perk for our members who participate and get the chance to meet members of the industry, including agents, and casting directors, every year in one-on-one appointments. This legacy AFTRA program, similar to legacy SAG’s Casting Lottery and Casting Seminars and the SAG Foundation’s NYCAP, is part of a fabric of excellent member services we support and believe in. We are proud of our members who go on to signings, callbacks and jobs!

  • EXPANDED CONSERVATORY SPACE – The premiere studio in the city (and biggest bang for the buck!) to practice on camera technique, as well as a host of other fabulous classes.  The Conservatory is going through an exciting “Renaissance” so if you haven’t yet, sign up and see what the Conservatory has to offer! And the space that has been allotted in our new Lincoln Center location will be even more spacious and state of the art. Be sure to check it out.

  • FILM SOCIETY– Many USAN volunteers staff this member perk, where our members are guaranteed over 20 studio screenings for a nominal cost, and often see twice as many films. A great value for you and a guest, we will continue to find ways to support this program while keeping it cost-effective.

  • LGBT A PREMIERE SPONSOR FOR NEWFEST– Newfest is a film festival supporting full-length features as well as shorts with LGBT themes. The SAG-AFTRA LGBT Committee sponsored a Panel Discussion that was a huge success, exploring issues such as casting, homophobia (or not), and how LGBT are portrayed within the industry and film. Stay tuned for more SAG-AFTRA Newfest events!

  • WOMEN’S COMMITTEE– As you’ve probably noticed from our wide variety of eblasts, we’ve been diligently and effectively creating Industry Coalitions to influence and improve the quality and quantity of employment opportunities for our female members across all media platforms. Another benefit of our activism is complementary membership for ALL union card holders in the WAMcoalition. (Sign up for this service at www.Wamcoalition.org). SAG-AFTRA is a leader in developing programs to encourage positive and diverse images of women. One example – we helped to develop SWANDAY (Support Women Artists Now) as a topper to Women’s History Month…which has become a global initiative.

  • ● SENIOR PERFORMERS COMMITTEE – Always a joint committee, we are now truly merged! The newly energized New York SAG-AFTRA Senior Performers Committee created an “Everything you ever wanted to know about Medicare Symposium” and a seminar with agents and casting directors who recognize the value of seniors appearing on TV and in films. Both events were highly successful.  This busy group also developed a video project that would reveal its members as an important part of the union. A budget was developed and approved; a shooting schedule was drafted and a director was hired. The completed video successfully addresses the issue of “who” Seniors really are and the value they bring to any production. Our vital group of performers is “Still Kicking” and you are invited to join us to get the word out about who our valued and seasoned performers are.

  • NEW MEMBER ORIENTATION – The MORE Committee re-instituted and revitalized this offering to the membership. This wonderful, welcoming seminar explains not only a brief history of our union, but also the advantages and perks the union has to offer – many that long-standing members might not even know! To best accommodate the membership, this is offered in both afternoon and evening sessions.

  • OUTREACH PROGRAM – NY is the first local to develop and implement ongoing outreach to colleges and acting studios providing members and aspiring members a better understanding of what holding a SAG-AFTRA card means along with your rights and responsibilities as a member. Started in 2000, this outstanding program is the only continually operating outreach program throughout the country and has been updated to reflect our powerful new union. We are proud of our efforts to organize the next generation!

  • NY HOST COMMITTEE – Created by USAN leadership. The Host Committee’s original goal was to celebrate the Membership through new events such as the Holiday Open House – now a holiday staple and attended by hundreds of members each year. NY SAG’s 75th Anniversary party was our inaugural event and its multi-media campaign was recognized by the International Labor Communicators Association with a prestigious award. We continue to find ways to provide more social events as well as making traditional events, like the Labor Day Parade more fun! The Host Committee has branched out to creating events to foster relationships between other entertainment unions and the labor community, paving the way for more cooperation and strong support for SAG-AFTRA members.

SAFETY NETS

USAN is always looking for ways to develop new safety nets for performers and actively works to get the best most up-to-date information out to the membership.

  • CAREFULLY COMBINING OUR P&H AND H&R PLANS is a top priority for USAN. While governed by separate boards of trustees from the union and each other, responsible and serious progress is being made.

  • HEALTH FAIR & HEALTH INSURANCE FOR PERFORMERS SEMINARS – These events are designed to inform members about the Plan and all “safety-net” options available to them should they fall out of health care qualifications. Representatives from the Actors Fund and area hospitals and clinics participated to make these events successful.

  • MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS – A seminar educating members on the ins and outs of collecting unemployment benefits. Volunteers discuss their real-life stories and offer advice based on questions. The New York State Department of Labor representatives have taken back actor feedback and made policy changes based on your input.

COMMUNICATIONS

USAN believes in a transparent union that communicates honestly with its membership even when the message may not be a popular one. USAN has made every effort to communicate directly with its NY Members without the usual “national” spin. We remain proud to have worked to address the issues of direct communication with the NY membership.

SAGAZINE – USAN leadership was the first to set the bar by creating the NY Division’s electronic “SAGazine” instituted when the National Board suspended all printed divisional communications due to budget constraints. Across the country, other divisions followed suit, recognizing SAGazine was a terrific solution to direct communication to members by its NY leadership.

LOCAL VOCAL – Post merger, USAN recognized the continuing need for timely electronic communication, and created NY LOCAL VOCAL, with breaking news, info, and member perks. It also features a link to a brand new podcast in every issue, where broadcaster interviews broadcaster. USAN believes that as our union evolves, so will the way we reach our members, as creatively and effectively as possible.

RETURN OF THE PRINTED NEWSLETTERS!– In response to member concerns that SAGazine only reached those with computer access, USAN worked hard to create as cost effectively as possible, the “NY Actor.” Printed on 100% recycled paper, it celebrated the NY Actor, and featured news, perks and inspiring articles written by elected USAN leadership and members-at-large. The tradition continues with our blended publication, which incorporates the best of NY Actor, as well as Stand By NY, the legacy AFTRA printed publication. It is USAN’s mission to continue to keep members productive, empowered and informed, as well as ensuring that our membership’s diversity is featured and included in every issue.

E-BLASTS – as needed – to inform the membership of breaking news, calls to action, and events. When Wisconsin workers’ rights came under fire, President Mike Hodge and USAN leaders coordinated rallies in NY and brought our members together with timely e-blasts. When tax credits were suspended in NJ in 2010, e-blasts helped organize our members in letter-writing campaigns and attendance at hearings. Your USAN leadership was key in restoring those tax credits in NJ in 2011, and their continuance today!

NATIONAL MAGAZINE– Always committed to our valuable NY members, USAN leadership was able to secure up to 4 pages in the national publication, “Screen Actor” devoted only to NY issues so that those members without email were still reached. The Screen Actors Guild was recognized multiple times for communications excellence awards by the International Labor Communicators Association.  The tradition continues with our blended National publication, SAG-AFTRA ONE UNION, a members-only publication available in print, and online in an interactive version! Our magazine benefits greatly from content advisement and other voluntary service provided by USAN leadership on the National Communications Committee and its Editorial Subcommittee.

WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA– Our leaders recognize the importance of getting ahead of rapidly changing technology. Our NY Local page on SAGAFTRA.org is reviewed by USAN leadership on the Website Sub-Committee, and kept up to date with the latest information, both local and national. Post merger, we identified the growing need for presence on Social Media- both local and national- and created a brand new Social Media Sub-Committee.

YOUNG PERFORMERS – Always committed to the future of our union, our young performers, USAN leadership oversees targeted and specific communication to this important group of performers. In a category that included the websites of international and national labor organizations, the International Labor Communicators Association recognized the Guild’s Young Performers website (now YoungPerformers.SAGAFTRA.org), and awarded it first place for Best Content. The site launched in 2010 under the stewardship of the USAN Leadership on the National Young Performers Committee and was funded through a grant from the SAG-Producers Industry Advancement and Cooperative Fund. The website features video interviews, an interactive on-set feature, quizzes, FAQs and an online version of SAG-AFTRA’s Young Performers Handbook. (Visit the current site  YoungPerformers.SAGAFTRA.org)

For a decade, USAN has been focused on fighting for better contracts in TV, film, commercials and new media so that performers can make a living. USAN recognized that working with the City and State governments was yet another way to expand members’ job opportunities and provide you with more tools to help you book work. We are proud to point out that we have energized old committees and have created new ones in order to bring to the membership every opportunity we can think of to advance all our careers.