Los Angeles (May 20, 2012) – The National Board of Directors of the newly formed SAG-AFTRA met for the first time over May 19 and 20, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.

On the recommendation of the union-wide national officers and the Executive Committee, the National Board confirmed David P. White in his role as National Executive Director and authorized his new three-year contract in that capacity, expiring May 21, 2015.

“I am pleased with the Board’s action and am grateful for their vote of confidence. We’ve achieved a tremendous success with our recent merger, but there is much more to be done and I look forward to working with the officers, directors and our talented staff team to continue to improve our operations and further empower and serve the members of SAG-AFTRA,” White said.

“David has clearly shown his management acumen and ability to direct our organization and lead our staff in implementing critical operational initiatives. There is no better person to lead SAG-AFTRA and we are thrilled that he will continue as national executive director,” said Co-Presidents Ken Howard and Roberta Reardon.

In other business, the meeting was called to order with a moment of silence in honor of members who have passed away since the last meetings of the former organizations’ individual boards. Reardon and Howard acknowledged the momentous occasion of the first meeting and praised the directors for their dedication and commitment during the merger education and outreach effort.

Howard said, “This meeting marked the beginning of a new era and new opportunities. Our board laid the cornerstone of an innovative organization built on the foundation of what has come before. It won’t always be easy, but the work has begun and we will move it forward. SAG-AFTRA members are counting on us to lead the way, and we will not fail them.”

Reardon said, “We had a productive weekend. We are all honored to do this important work on behalf of SAG-AFTRA; a union that respects diversity, values its members and is prepared for the many opportunities and challenges facing our rapidly changing industries. There is much to do, but together we will be successful.”

The board also received reports from several operational areas including:

National Executive Director’s Report
National Executive Director David White reported on integration efforts and operations, providing the board with a staffing chart naming the top staff leaders of the union. He also outlined strategic objectives including the continued build-out of a robust technology infrastructure. Other projects include the expansion of the online production center and digital contract signatory application, the consolidation of the legacy website content into the SAGAFTRA.org site, and the creation of a nation-wide institutional knowledge empowerment program to enhance contracts-specific training for employees throughout the union.

Finance Report
National Co-Secretary-Treasurers Amy Aquino and Matt Kimbrough presented a recommended FY 2013 budget of $95 million including $2.7 million from reserves to cover transition costs and allocations for several upcoming contract negotiations.

The Co-Secretary-Treasurers also recommended that SAG-AFTRA members who had belonged to both AFTRA and SAG and paid a full initiation fee to either union would be responsible for all base and work dues obligations beginning with the May 2007 billing. Any other financial obligations, other than disciplinary fines owed, would be waived. Any members who are on payment plans for delinquent dues will be cleared for work, though not considered to be in good standing. Those with outstanding obligations could elect to pay them through a payment plan, with a maximum duration of one year.

The Board approved both recommendations.

The board left in place the current interim fee waiver schedule.

Commercials Contracts Report
Assistant National Executive Director for Contracts Ray Rodriguez, addressed the board regarding upcoming negotiations for the commercials contracts.

The board approved that a National Commercials Contracts Wages & Working Conditions Plenary Committee (“W&W Plenary Committee”) be established, to consist of seventeen (17) voting members and nine (9) alternates. Except as provided below, the membership of the W&W Plenary Committee shall be recommended by the Co-Presidents in consultation with the W&W Plenary Committee National Chairs and Vice-Chairs and considered for approval by the National Board at its next meeting.

The committee is charged with developing a set of proposals for the 2012-2013 Commercials Negotiations for consideration by the National Board. The proposals will include input from Locals and staff. Commercials contracts negotiations will commence later this year and the W&W process will begin July 2.

Sound Recordings Contract Report
Assistant National Executive Director of Sound Recordings Randall Himes, reported on the status of negotiations with the major record labels regarding music video production. Himes recognized board members Bobbie Bates and Sharon Ferguson, Galen Hooks and organizer Steve Sidawi, whose outreach to the dance community has resulted in substantial movement in negotiations. Based on the newly productive discussions in these areas, the board delegated to National Executive Director David White, the authority to issue a Do Not Work Order in music videos should talks become unproductive.

The meeting was adjourned at 2:06 p.m. PDT on May 20, in memory of longtime SAG and AFTRA board member, committee chair, Plan Trustee, and activist Yale Summers who passed away May 6.