The Millennial Presidents Manifesto

Manifesto: a public declaration of policy and aims, especially one issued before an election by a political party or candidate.

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OUR LEGACY, OUR FUTURE

The SAG-AFTRA website states that it was a combination of idealism and outrage that motivated the founding mothers and fathers to create the Screen Actors Guild in 1933.

We have inherited this legacy, my millennial, gen X, and baby-boomer brethren.

Most of the original founders socialized together and were active members of Hollywood artists clubs: “They were an action-oriented, motivated, gutsy group,” quotes the site.

This is the culture I want for Chicago SAG-AFTRA members: solidarity, leisure, camaraderie, ambition, intellect, business acuity, glamour, and political savvy. As a leader of a distinctive local, I want to create tradition and install ourselves in a tinseled Chicago legacy of our own.

Staying at an iconic old-hollywood place while serving on negotiations and engaging with my fellow LA and NYC membership has shown me how important it is to cultivate that culture for a local. I’m committed to creating and sustaining that here in Chicago.

We can show the world how organized we can be, how united we can stand, and how unique we are.

 

ORGANIZING

In an ideal world, we wouldn’t need unions. Employers would treat us with dignity and fairness without being forced to do so. Unions are only formed when people are being exploited and harassed, when there’s a reason.

Unfortunately, there are still transgressions taking place both in the casting room and on set. Learning from the past and observing the landscape of the industry today, I’ve made it a prominent part of my plan to ramp up internal organizing to better connect the pains of our stunt community, broadcast professionals, background workers, and principal performers into a clear diagnosis before using my surgical-like strategies and maneuvers to alleviate member pains and issues.

As the youngest person serving on the negotiating committee, I realized with more clarity the perception problem other millennials have in regards to union activity. Therefore, I plan to refresh the brand of unionizing to make it look like how it feels: Dynamically empowering and fun to boot. Elect me and stay tuned, because it’s going to be FUN!

The more members use their voice and find expression through their union, the stronger we are as a local. By making it fun and analogizing membership with the glamour of old hollywood friendship groups, it’s easier to see the vision of camaraderie I have for Chicago. I’m a leader who wants to see the best rise to the top. My plan is to find the Oprahs, Scorseses, Tarantinos, and De Niros of Chicago and support them.

Chicago is no moveable feast, but it waits to be defined by artists as distinct as Hemingway, and as observant as Fitzgerald. I invite you to raise a glass to mine and organize.

 

NEGOTIATING CONTRACTS

I’m fresh off of having played a meaningful role in successfully negotiating our TV/Theatrical contract (negotiating a contract is one of the highest forms of service we can contribute as members in governance). I spent 4+ weeks in Los Angeles all day every day working with the rest of the negotiating committee and professional staff to make the best decisions for membership. I put my best negotiating, strategizing, and visionary and innovative imagination to work for this multi-billion dollar contract which affects every member in this union. The weight of that responsibility is one I carried with cognizance and pride.

It is with such pride I can report to you what your fantastic negotiating team has bargained. Highlights include:

*Package value of $256 million dollars (An unprecedented amount!)

*Wage increases of 2.5% in the first year, 3% second, and 3% in the third year. (This is bigger than it looks: We got a massive package without having to shave off any of our wage increases, that’s savvy negotiating.)

*.5% increase employer contributions to SAG Pension and AFTRA Retirement fund in year one.

*Recognition of Middle Eastern North African as a diverse category in the casting data report (This is an important win: lots of actors are not able to be hired as they don’t “count as a diverse casting choice” just because there is no box to check them, even though they may be Egyptian, etc.)

*300% increase in improved residuals for programming made for SVOD (subscription video on demand = Netflix)

*Advanced Pay Residuals (First residual due 90 days rather than waiting an entire year to start seeing payments)

*Increase in the residual rate in addition to advertiser supported streaming residuals (Think Crackle or Vevo)

*Paid Travel! (Listen up guys and gals! If you’re hired away from home, you’re being paid to travel to work, just like every other business. Paid travel for SAG-AFTRA members is a legitimate production expense and a budget item. I want to see all your IG selfies on your way to and from set, ok!!)

*DOUBLE TIME for background actors beginning after 10 hours of work! (OT for background is a major win.)

I’ve increased the power and leverage of members in our bargaining relationships with industry employers in my service on the 2017 TV/TH negotiating committee. I’ve added value, perspective, insight, innovation, and extremely futuristic thinking to the committee discussions and proposal work. 

I’ve given late hours into the night and my best writing abilities to draft legal documents that’s ignited committee minds. I’ve worked extensively with other presidents of our 25 locals on this committee to come to a package that reflects gains for all categories of members.

It fills me with great esteem and confidence to have represented the Chicago local elegantly, articulately, and powerfully.

 

SUCCESSFULLY ENFORCING CONTRACTS

It is one of the core functions of a union to successfully enforce the contracts we’ve worked so arduously to bargain for and the gains we’ve attained. This is huge. This is where we protect our rights in all respects.

I want to play a meaningful part in enforcing our contracts and securing meaningful legislation and regulations for employers that protect us and serve our interests.

Working with staff, industry members, other locals, and national governance in a smart and effortful manner are only the beginning stages. 

I’ll act as a union leader that elegantly liaisons between membership and the rest of the industry in order to broker peace, wealth, and ethical treatment for us all.

 

GETTING MEMBERS MORE MONEY

I’m including this in my manifesto because money is kind of extremely important, and I don’t want anyone to get it twisted: I am focused like a laser on getting more money for us as a mighty midwest local that covers Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and a part of Iowa.

I understand an entrepreneurs volatile capital and it’s accompanying challenges. In addition to aiding you in finding/receiving monies and dealing with debt, I also care about the management and growth of your portfolio– or the cash jar under the bed. I want you to be in as stable a financial position as is possible.

I’m committed to growing the wealth of any member who is interested in protecting and multiplying their capital and providing these resources through our union network. 

 

A VISIONARY LEADER

How a president goes about achieving the goals we all want for members, how they handle employers and intimidators, how they interact with the rest of the industry worldwide, how they represent Chicago, and how they work with the rest of the board and staff is a defining characteristic that any organization that elects such a leader needs to deeply consider.

My travels, conversations with other presidents from LA to NY, board service both locally and nationally, committee work, and negotiating this multi-billion dollar contract have strengthened the foundation I’ve built. The foundation I’ll stand on to further serve the Chicago constituency over the next two years.

I stand on my strongest attributes to lead our local into the future with the elegance of an actress, vision of a director, strength of a woman, and the surgical-quality strategy of a negotiator. This is the alchemy that will define my presidency: the millennial style with an old-world touch.

What I’ve learned from the professionals, titans in their fields of negotiating and strategizing, amplifies a natural talent that I look forward to utilizing as president. It is without hubris I can declare I am your powerful ally in strategizing for our future and protecting our careers for the battles to come. For I can see them coming down the way, from climate change to technology compromising our work. I am doing the groundwork to prepare us fully.

The future we want we can attain through a united membership and a visionary leader.

 

IN CLOSING 

I know how hard it is in this business. A new day inflates your hopes with possibility of a call relaying an audition, callback, or booking… only to deflate as the day closes without any word from anyone in the industry. At night you battle worries, fears, and disappointments as you try to rest. When the morning breaks you rise again, determined to succeed and be better than you were yesterday. I admire your strength, tenacity, and dreams.

While everything about the world may discourage you, I stand here to support you and the creative fire inside you… It’s that sacred fire that burns brighter and stronger the more we are inspired and encouraged to keep going. 

I want two years to fan those flames of ambition, desire, and creativity… Two years to prove it, to ourselves, and to the entire world.

You’ve now observed the themes that structure my two year plan. You know I’ll propel my vision for wealth, inclusion, and protected success for each member with tactical maneuvers and calculated strategy. So if you don’t mind an innovative and savvy millennial president, I invite you to join me in strengthening our lives, our careers, and our connectedness. What I ask, is the chance to try as your next president and the vote of confidence in ballot to do so.

In solidarity,

Natalee Arteaga