We live in extraordinary times. Across America, our people and institutions face unprecedented challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic that continues to ravage our communities. SAG-AFTRA is no different in this respect. Our leadership and staff have confronted decisions in the past six months that are necessary to ensure that our union emerges from this period well-positioned to protect and empower our membership for generations to come.
After discussions with our Finance and Executive Committees, and the National Board, we have made the difficult decision to reduce our staff in offices across the country. We take this step in response to the accelerating impact of the pandemic on the union’s current and future financial condition.
After many years of disciplined financial management, we were able to build up the reserves which allows our organization to be well positioned to endure a period such as this. However, as we are all painfully aware, the production shutdown over the last 7 months has shattered earnings across nearly all sectors of our membership.
This has had a significant effect on the union’s budget during this fiscal year, but will have its most acute impact on our revenue in the next fiscal year. That is because each dues period is based on the previous year’s earnings under our contracts. Therefore, next year’s revenue for the union will reflect diminished members earnings from this year due to the production shutdown. In other words, even as production ramps up again, our fiscal situation will continue to show the impact of the industrywide shut down next year, and possibly beyond.
This is why decisive action now is necessary. By anticipating the continued impact of COVID-19 on our industry and membership, we can protect and preserve the organization and its ability to support and serve members.
Even as we reduce expenses, we remain laser-focused on delivering essential services, protection and support to members as we return to work. We will also continue to prioritize expanding work opportunities and advocating for legislation that focuses on the needs of our membership and industry.
Member Dues Extension
We understand that our members continue to face serious financial distress during this period as well. Therefore, the Board has also approved a second COVID-19 dues extension which allows members to defer their dues payment. This extended program will once again provide a mechanism whereby members in financial distress can easily request – either online or by simply checking a box on the dues bill – an extension of the due date for payment of dues and an installment plan for those payments. All members, whether or not they request a dues extension, will benefit from a waiver of late fees for this dues period.
SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director