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SAG-AFTRA Closes Convention and Board Rolls Up Its Sleeves

The newly elected 80-member governing body of the combined unions will meet for the first time Monday

More than 350 delegates, officers and guests on Sunday brought down the curtain on SAG-AFTRA’s first combined convention.

“What we have done this weekend is beginning the shape of our foundation,” said newly elected national executive vice president Gabrielle Carteris in closing remarks at the JW Marriott Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

“We have listened, we have debated, we have worked through interests and concerns. What we have done has created a framework to better members’ lives. I believe we have begun a proud and enduring legacy upon which our later generations will reflect and benefit.”

Also read: SAG-AFTRA Ready for Its Close-Up With First Combined Convention

U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and  AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka spoke at the convention, which had the theme of “United for the Future” and featured a series of panels and workshops on the industry, organizing and negotiating.

The results of the union’s survey on gender diversity and sexual orientation in the workplace was released, and the first American Scene Awards ceremony was held.

Also read: LGBT Actors See Progress, But Discrimination Persists

It won’t take long for the hard work to begin. The new 80-member national board, which was formally installed at the convention, will meet for the first time Monday.

Among the items that will be discussed are the potential merging of the SAG and AFTRA pension plans, next year’s negotiations with the studios and TV networks and the suit against the union filed by Ed Asner and other members alleging under-payments on foreign residuals.

SAG-AFTRA National President Ken Howard called upon delegates to bring the messages they heard at the convention back to their locals and continue the conversation.

Also read: ‘Secret Life of the American Teenager’ Honored by SAG-AFTRA for Diversity

These days have been filled with reminders of what we do and why we choose to do it. We entertain and inform the world and our work can change lives,” Howard said. “We must always keep our eye on the prize: we are here to serve, to consider, to advise, to decide, and to lead – for the members. Our guiding principle must always be what is right for the members; that which serves the members’ interests.”

SAG-AFTRA represents more than 165,000 actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voice-over artists and other entertainment and media professionals.