2019 SAG-AFTRA Convention


2019 SAG-AFTRA Convention News

SAG-AFTRA National Convention Second Day Opens with National Executive Director's Presentation

Recipients of George Heller Memorial Award Announced
American Scene Awards Winners Honored

Los Angeles – National Executive Director David White opened day two of the fourth biennial SAG-AFTRA National Convention with a presentation to delegates from around the country. White discussed the newly renegotiated Commercials Contracts, the union’s successful strike against BBH and its successful efforts against third party signatories stating, “we’re easy to work with, hard to fight.”

White reviewed member growth earnings and the numerous negotiations undertaken these last two years in SAG-AFTRA’s broadcasting, music, audiobook and video games contracts. The union’s landmark deal with Netflix was also highlighted. “Performance capture is covered on our terms under this contract and that’s a tremendous success for our members,” he said.

White also spotlit SAG-AFTRA’s success in public radio organizing, its efforts at organizing Spanish-language media as well as the union’s on-going fights against the Spanish Broadcasting System and IMDb. He also reviewed the union’s recent legislative victories in the areas of sexual harassment including the union’s work with intimacy coordinators, its digital image rights campaign against “deepfakes” as well as the bipartisan passage of the Music Modernization Act. SeeHer, the union’s latest partnership with the Association of National Advertisers calling for gender equality in commercials, was also discussed.

Regarding SAG-AFTRA’s ongoing progress in its myriad initiatives, White said, “it does not happen overnight, it does not happen with a single action. Success doesn't happen without controversy, but it does happen, we have power, we have agency and we must not forget that.”

In addition to White’s report, delegates worked through several resolutions and attended afternoon panels and workshops. In the evening, delegates were invited to attend a special screening of the film A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.

On Friday night, at the union’s Casino Unconventionale gala, staff member Duncan Crabtree-Ireland and members Gabrielle Carteris and Rebecca Damon were recipients of the George Heller Memorial Award gold cards in recognition for their outstanding contributions to SAG-AFTRA and its members.

The George Heller Memorial Award is presented every two years at convention and bestowed based on contributions and years of service to SAG-AFTRA or its predecessor unions. Recipients are selected by a subcommittee comprised of past recipients and National Honors and Tributes Committee members from around the country. This year’s recipients are:

  • Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel
    Crabtree-Ireland serves as chief operating officer and general counsel of SAG-AFTRA and is responsible for broad operational oversight and organizational accountability. Crabtree-Ireland oversees the legal aspects of collective bargaining and contract enforcement for all SAG-AFTRA collective bargaining agreements, as well as SAG-AFTRA’s legal, government affairs, professional representatives, international affairs, governance and diversity operations. Previously, Crabtree-Ireland served as Screen Actors Guild's deputy national executive director and general counsel and as a deputy district attorney for the County of Los Angeles. 


  • Gabrielle Carteris, SAG-AFTRA President
    Carteris was re-elected SAG-AFTRA president on August 28, 2019. She was previously elected president in 2016 and served as executive vice president from 2013-2016. She is the chair of the National TV/Theatrical Contracts Negotiating Committee and leads the President’s Task Force on Education, Outreach and Engagement. Carteris was elected in August 2016 as a vice president on the AFL-CIO’s executive council, re-elected in 2017 and co-leads a sexual harassment workgroup. She also is a founding ambassador of ReFrame, an initiative of Women In Film and Sundance Institute to further gender parity in the media industry. In 2017, Carteris was appointed commissioner to the Industrywide Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace.

    In 2008, Carteris served the Screen Actors Guild as fifth alternate national director, in 2009 as first alternate national director and in 2010 she began a three-year term as a national board member. Her previous American Federation of Television and Radio Artists service includes two consecutive terms on the AFTRA Los Angeles Local Board and the AFTRA National Board, three terms as an AFTRA convention delegate in the actor category and, in 2011, she was elected Los Angeles Local president and national second vice president. She was a part of the G1 (Group for One Union) and helped with developing the plan to merge SAG and AFTRA. She also served SAG-AFTRA during the transition year as national vice president, Los Angeles. She was also listed on Variety’s Power of Women L.A. Impact Report 2016 and on The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Power 100 list in 2016 and 2017.


  • Rebecca Damon, Executive Vice President and New York Local President
    Damon was first elected SAG-AFTRA executive vice president, the union’s second-highest office, in April 2016. She was re-elected to a two-year term in October 2017 and again on Oct. 11, 2019. A New York-based actor and voiceover performer, Damon was also appointed by the board in November 2017 to serve as president of the New York Local. She is national chair of the Government Review Committee, chair of the MOVE New York Committee, and serves on the Executive, Finance and Government Affairs and Public Policy committees. Currently serving on the President’s Task Force on Education, Outreach and Engagement and as chair of the Member Outreach Relations & Education Committee, she is a fierce advocate for education and empowerment of performers nationwide. 

    A champion for workers’ rights, Damon’s leadership includes strengthening New York’s right of publicity and digital image rights for the benefit of all members. She is a recipient of the New York LaborPress Leadership Award, Irish Echo Connecting America Award and SAG-AFTRA New York Local’s Joseph C. Riley Award. Recently, City & State New York recognized Damon in its Labor Power 100 list for her longstanding dedication and support of SAG-AFTRA members and the labor movement at large

The 2019 SAG-AFTRA American Scene Awards were also presented at the gala in three categories:

  • Belva Davis News & Broadcast Award: NPR for It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders; presented by the show’s associate producer, Anjuli Sastry, to NPR Senior Director of ProgrammingSteve Nelson.
  • Entertainment Award: A24 and Hyphen LLC for Hulu Original Series Ramy; presented by Ramy actress May Calamawy to Hulu Head of Talent and Casting Barbara Fiorentino and A24 Television Executive Alli Reich.
  • Music & Sound Recordings Award: Sony Music Entertainment/Columbia Recordsfor Lil Nas X’s Old Town Road (feat. Billy Ray Cyrus) [Remix Single]; presented by SAG-AFTRA Diversity Advisory Committee Chair Jason George to Columbia Records Urban Music Senior Vice President and Co-headPhylicia Fant.

The SAG-AFTRA National Convention concludes tomorrow with officer reports and the Committee of Locals meeting at the Beverly Hilton. For more information about the SAG-AFTRA National Convention, please visit SAGAFTRACONVENTION.org.

SAG-AFTRA and Mexican Actors Union ANDA Sign Cooperative Agreement at the 2019 National Convention

LOS ANGELES — SAG-AFTRA today announced that it has signed a historic cooperative agreement with the Asociación Nacional de Actores (ANDA), the labor union that represents performers in Mexico.

Said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris, “We are honored and privileged to stand strong with ANDA, an important leader in the Latin American labor community. Their top leaders joined us today to sign a historic agreement designed for this new era of cross-border and multilingual production, pledging to consider joint bargaining in appropriate areas, such as Spanish-language dubbing.”

ANDA’s General Secretary Jesús Ochoa, Secretary of Interior and Exterior Marco Treviño, and Secretary of Labor Alejandro Calva participated in the signing.

The agreement includes provisions for collaboration on contract and rule enforcement, organizing, and technology initiatives.




SAG-AFTRA y el Sindicato Mexicano de Actores ANDA firman un acuerdo de cooperación en la Convención Nacional de 2019

LOS ÁNGELES (12 de octubre de 2019) SAG-AFTRA anunció hoy que ha firmado un histórico acuerdo de cooperación con la Asociación Nacional de Actores (ANDA), el sindicato que representa a los artistas intérpretes y ejecutantes en México.

La presidenta de SAG-AFTRA, Gabrielle Carteris, dijo: “Nos sentimos honrados y privilegiados de levantarnos en solidaridad con ANDA, un líder importante en la comunidad laboral latinoamericana. Sus principales líderes se unieron a nosotros hoy para firmar un acuerdo histórico diseñado para esta nueva era de producción transfronteriza y multilingüe, comprometiéndose a considerar la negociación conjunta en áreas apropiadas, como el doblaje en español. "


Tres de los principales líderes de ANDA: Jesús Ochoa, Secretario General; Marco Treviño, Secretario del Interior y Exterior; y Alejandro Calva, Secretario de Trabajo; participaron en la firma.

El acuerdo incluye disposiciones para la colaboración en el cumplimiento de contratos y reglas, sindicalización e iniciativas tecnológicas.

SAG-AFTRA Passes Resolution In Support of a Free and Unencumbered Press at First Day of Its National Convention

LOS ANGELES — SAG-AFTRA’s more than 400 delegates today unanimously passed a resolution in support of a free and unencumbered press:

“We are living in an extraordinary time when the news media has been attacked as spreading false stories and as an enemy of the people. SAG-AFTRA has on at least two occasions since the last national convention, issued strong statements on behalf of a free and unencumbered press.

“SAG-AFTRA believes that the entities that employ journalists must do everything they can to ensure their freedom, protection and safety.

“As a proud labor union representing more than 160,000 broadcasters, actors and entertainers, the union stands with all of its members in ensuring that the basic rights of an unrestricted and independent press continue to be defended.”

SAG-AFTRA Opens Fourth Convention, Elects National Officers

LOS ANGELES — Under the banner theme “UNCONVENT!ONAL,” SAG-AFTRA kicked off its fourth biennial National Convention at the Beverly Hilton Hotel Friday morning. The convention began Oct. 10 and runs through Oct. 13. SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris officially opened the three-day event by inviting veteran delegates to lead the pledge of allegiance. She also called on delegates to craft their vision for the union’s future and mentor the next generation of union leaders.

More than 400 delegates from across the country then sat for a keynote interview between Academy Award-nominated film producer Jason Blum (BlacKkKlansman, Get Out, Whiplash) the founder of Blumhouse Productions and facilitator Ben Fritz, the West Coast bureau chief for U.S. news at the Wall Street Journal.

During the convention session, delegates nominated and elected the union’s eight national vice presidents, including the executive vice president.

Rebecca Damon was re-elected Executive Vice President.

The following vice-presidential candidates were elected to two-year terms effective immediately (an asterisk indicates candidates who ran unopposed): 

  • Clyde Kusatsu, National Vice President, Los Angeles 
  • Liz Zazzi, National Vice President, New York*  
  • Michele Proude, National Vice President, Mid-Sized Locals
  • Suzanne Burkhead, National Vice President, Small Locals*
  • William Charlton, National Vice President, Actors/Performers
  • Bob Butler, National Vice President, Broadcasters*
  • Dan Navarro, National Vice President, Recording Artists/Singers* 

Today also marked the opening of the convention expo where attendees can take a break from the business activities to network and obtain important and useful information from partner organizations. 

Later this evening, SAG-AFTRA will present the American Scene Awards and announce the George Heller Memorial Award recipients at the Casino Unconventionale gala inside the Beverly Hilton’s International Ballroom.

The national convention resumes tomorrow with a report from National Executive Director David White, consideration of several proposed constitutional resolutions and amendments, and a host of afternoon panels and workshops.

For more information about the fourth biennial SAG-AFTRA National Convention, please visit SAGAFTRACONVENTION.org.

SAG-AFTRA Re-Elects Rebecca Damon Executive Vice President at National Convention

LOS ANGELES — SAG-AFTRA today announced that Rebecca Damon has been re-elected as executive vice president of SAG-AFTRA at the union’s fourth biennial national convention in Los Angeles. Her new two-year term begins immediately.

“I’m grateful for the national show of support for my re-election as SAG-AFTRA’s executive vice president. I’m excited to be working again with President Carteris, our new Secretary-Treasurer Camryn Manheim, and all the elected officers and board members who are serving our union. Only together can we take on the challenges that face us,” said Damon.  

“Congratulations to Rebecca Damon. I am thrilled to serve another term with her. She is a true partner, a tireless warrior who fights for membership across the country. SAG-AFTRA and our membership are lucky to have her wisdom and spirit as we face the future in unity and strength,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris.

Hailing from Nebraska, Damon is an actor and voiceover performer. She was first elected SAG-AFTRA EVP in April 2016 and retained her post at the October 2017 National Convention. Damon was also re-elected Aug. 29 to another two-year term as SAG-AFTRA New York Local president, a role she assumed Sept. 9, 2017, upon the passing of New York Local President Mike Hodge.

Damon sits on a number of policy-shaping committees at the local and national levels of the union. She is national chair of the Government Review Committee; chair of the Member Organizing Volunteer Efforts New York Committee; and serves on the Executive, Finance and Government Affairs and Public Policy committees. A fierce advocate for education and empowerment of performers across the country, Damon also serves on the President’s Task Force on Education, Outreach and Engagement and chairs the Member Outreach Relations & Education Committee. She also sits on the NYS AFL-CIO Executive Council.

A founding member of the President’s Forum for One Union and G1 — the body that worked to merge SAG and AFTRA — she played a key role in the merger when she co-led the Operations Workgroup as the Screen Actors Guild New York Division vice president.

She is a fierce champion for workers’ rights as evidenced in her efforts to strengthen New York’s laws concerning right of publicity and digital image rights for the benefit of all members. Damon also believes women deserve equal pay for equal work and was present as a special guest when New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed state legislation expanding gender-based wage protections. Her longstanding dedication and support of SAG-AFTRA members and the labor movement at large recently earned her a spot in City & State New York’s Labor Power 100 list. She is also a recipient of the New York LaborPress Leadership Award, Irish Echo Connecting America Award and SAG-AFTRA New York Local’s Joseph C. Riley Award. 

In addition to her labor leader commitments, Damon also dedicates time to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation — an educational, humanitarian and philanthropic non-profit organization – where she serves as a board member and primary elected liaison for Foundation programming in New York. In these capacities, she has been instrumental in the creation of the Actors Center at 1900 Broadway and the Robin Williams Center for Entertainment and Media.

To download a high-resolution image of SAG-AFTRA EVP Rebecca Damon click here.

A full list of elected geographic and member category vice presidents will be announced later today.

SAG-AFTRA’s National Convention began Oct. 10 and runs through Oct. 13 at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills. For more information about the convention, please visit SAGAFTRACONVENTION.org.

SAG-AFTRA Honors NPR, Hulu & A24 and Columbia Records/Sony Music with the 2019 American Scene Awards®

Lil Nas X, Sam Sanders and Ramy Youssef Projects to be Feted Oct. 11 at the Beverly Hilton

LOS ANGELES – SAG-AFTRA today announced the recipients for the fourth SAG-AFTRA American Scene Awards, honoring producers who realistically portray the American Scene by employing union talent from misrepresented or underrepresented groups. This year’s winners are:

  • Belva Davis News & Broadcast Award: NPR for It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders
  • Entertainment Award: Hulu & A24 for Ramy
  • Music & Sound Recordings Award: Columbia Records/Sony Music Entertainment for Old Town Road (Remix) by Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus

Winners were selected for work that exemplifies equal access and full inclusion of diverse backgrounds, people with disabilities, women, seniors and people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender as well as other misrepresented or underrepresented groups. Moreover, the American Scene Awards recognize diverse employment in three main contract categories covered by the union: Entertainment, Music & Sound Recordings, and News & Broadcast.

This year’s call for nominations included major networks and labels, cable and streaming series, independent and studio feature films, public television and radio. The American Scene Awards are the only award given out by SAG-AFTRA that recognizes employers that value diversity in all its forms.

Said Jason George, chair of the SAG-AFTRA Diversity Advisory Committee, “Hands-down, the most difficult selection process we’ve ever had. There were so many worthy projects nominated, it was a brutal decision for everyone involved just to narrow down the submissions to a set of finalists. One of the most impressive aspects this time has to be the powerful perspectives of SAG-AFTRA members who poured their immense talents into creating content for themselves that they weren’t seeing anywhere else. What better way to disrupt tired tropes and overcome traditional obstacles than insisting that there must be a different way? In so many cases, in all categories, SAG-AFTRA members are the driving force in these projects. Our members will continue to shape the future of this industry in profound ways, particularly when it comes to bringing all of our stories into the light.”

Added Jenny O’Hara, chair of the SAG-AFTRA Honors and Tributes Committee, “We are so proud to honor this year’s recipients for their remarkable work in these past two years. It’s so encouraging to see how much progress has been made and to see these excellent, authentic and impactful stories. So much diversity was represented, in form as well as content, and from such a wide range of companies and creators. From the long-established to those on the rise, and to those just beginning, all were impressive. The smaller indies and streaming series gave the big-budget features a run for their money and the artists and broadcasters from every community of our membership and our country were showcased in wonderful ways. That’s what these awards are all about: possibilities, stepping up, and taking chances.”

“Not to take anything away from our previous recipients, but I believe these are the most exciting and progressive selections to date. Forget pushing limits, these extraordinary projects have accomplished that rare feat of undoing the boundaries altogether. With so many genre-defying and stereotype-rejecting finalists, I know it was a gut-wrenching experience for the selection group. Congratulations to these committed employers who deserve such accolades for supporting the visions of our phenomenal members Sam, Ramy and Lil Nas X,” said SAG-AFTRA National Director, EEO & Diversity Adam Moore.

The recipients said they were honored to be selected.

"NPR is honored that SAG-AFTRA has recognized It's Been a Minute for this award. The show’s engaging and smart approach to covering news and this cultural moment has brought important range to our podcast and broadcast portfolio," said Anya Grundmann, NPR's SVP for programming and audience development. "Sam Sanders has an infectious ease about him. He’s warm, he’s curious, he tells it like it is. He and his guests help us process the news and bring voices and perspectives you don’t hear elsewhere in this frenetic media environment. We’re gratified that audiences have connected with the show’s spirit and mission so deeply and that Sam and the IBAM team are getting this well-deserved recognition.”

“We’re honored to be recognized by SAG-AFTRA’s American Scene Awards. Our show strives to shine a light on characters and stories that are rarely seen on TV, and none of that could be possible without the diverse and extremely talented people both in front of and behind the camera. We’re excited that such a specifically focused story has resonated with audiences, and we hope that other specific stories are given the opportunity to shine and be heard,” said Ramy co-creator, executive producer and series lead Ramy Youssef.

“The team at Columbia Records is thrilled to receive SAG-AFTRA’s American Scene Award for Music & Sound Recordings. We are incredibly proud of Lil Nas X and the impact he’s made with his history-making hit Old Town Road. This song has crossed many cultural barriers, as well as pre-existing notions of musical genres. We’ve seen countless examples of this song bringing such a diverse span of people from all backgrounds, ages and demographics together in beautiful ways. It’s not just about breaking the No. 1 record, it’s about his ability to open up new avenues both musically and culturally. He's completely changed the game, and he's proven that it's okay to be different, break the rules and push the envelope,” said Columbia Records.

The American Scene Awards are overseen by SAG-AFTRA’s Diversity Advisory and Honors and Tributes committees. The awards will be presented on Friday, Oct. 11, at the Beverly Hilton’s International Ballroom during SAG-AFTRA’s biennial convention. The American Scene Awards presentation will be hosted by Sydelle Noel (GLOW) with an after-party featuring DJ ButchOnTap.

The full list of nominees in alphabetical order are:


  • Al Jazeera English
  • America by the Numbers with Maria Hinojosa
  • It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders *WINNER


  • Atlanta
  • Black-ish
  • Blackkklansman
  • Chambers
  • Coco
  • Detroit
  • GLOW
  • Grace and Frankie
  • Lucky Grandma
  • One Day at a Time
  • Pose
  • Ramy *WINNER
  • Special
  • Speechless
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  • The Twilight Zone
  • This Close
  • Vida


  • This Is America (Single) Childish Gambino (Donald Glover) - (RCA)
  • Dirty Computer (Album) Janelle Monáe - (Warner Music Group/Atlantic Records)
  • Old Town Road (Remix) by Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus (Columbia Records/Sony Music Entertainment) *WINNER
  • Now (War & Leisure Album) Miguel - (Sony Music Group/RCA Records)
  • Hurts 2B Human (Album) Pink - (Sony Music Group/RCA Records)

Past recipients of the SAG-AFTRA American Scene Awards include Twentieth Century Fox Television for This Is Us, Amazon Studios for Transparent, Atlantic Music Group for Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording) and The Hamilton Mixtape, NPR for Code Switch, ABC Family and Brenda Hampton of Brendavision! for The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Capitol Records Nashville for Darius Rucker’s Southern Style, Universal Music Group for its entire catalog and roster of artists, San Diego State University Research Foundation for KPBS San Diego, and Detroit Public Television for Arab American Stories.

About SAG-AFTRA’s American Scene Awards
The American Scene Awards are bestowed on union productions that most intelligently and progressively employ the talents of people of color, people with disabilities, women, seniors, people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer and other misrepresented or under-represented groups to realistically portray the American Scene. The recipients are producers and content creators whose projects exemplify their commitment to employment of our diverse union membership in the following three categories: Entertainment, Music & Sound Recordings, and News & Broadcast. The American Scene Awards are given out biennially at SAG-AFTRA’s national convention.

SAG-AFTRA to Hold Fourth National Convention Oct. 10-13

Los Angeles – From Oct. 10-13, union leaders, special guests and delegates from across the country will descend on the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles for the fourth biennial SAG-AFTRA National Convention. This year’s unifying theme is “#UNCONVENT!ONAL,” in celebration of SAG-AFTRA’s diverse membership — which includes actors, singers, broadcasters, stunt performers and many other work categories — and the union’s innovative approach to activism on behalf of its 160,000 constituents.

The National Convention brings together more than 400 delegates from the union’s 25 locals to elect the executive vice president and national vice presidents, debate and vote on constitutional amendments, and decide on union initiatives to focus on for the next two years.  

The first full day, Friday, wraps with two awards ceremonies at the Casino Unconventionale gala inside the Beverly Hilton’s International Ballroom. That evening, SAG-AFTRA will bestow the American Scene Awards, the only union honor that recognizes employers, to producers whose works intelligently reflect the country’s diversity. The union will also announce recipients of the George Heller Memorial Award, a gold SAG-AFTRA membership card presented to member leaders and staff who have made considerable contributions to SAG-AFTRA and its antecedent unions. 

The schedule of SAG-AFTRA’s convention is as follows:

Thursday, Oct. 10: Begins with delegate check-in in the afternoon, followed by a National Board meeting (open to National Board members and designated alternates only), a Credentials Committee meeting (for committee members and authorized staff only) and a welcome reception open only to convention delegates. 

Friday, Oct. 11: Convention opening session succeeded by a keynote conversation and nominations and voting to elect the executive vice president and geographic and category national vice presidents. A keynote conversation featuring Academy Award-nominated film producer Jason Blum (BlacKkKlansman, Get Out, Whiplash) will take place in the morning. The afternoon includes a local presidents forum (open to local presidents and authorized attendees only) and consideration of proposed constitutional amendments and resolutions. In the evening, SAG-AFTRA will present the American Scene and George Heller Memorial awards at the Casino Unconventionale gala.

Saturday, Oct. 12: National executive director's report by David White with Q&A to follow, consideration of convention resolutions, a special screening of A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood as well as five panels and workshops:

  • Stay Woke and Take Action
  • Organize This!
  • Legal 101: Understanding Media Industry Laws
  • The Future of the Media Business: An Outlook for Our Industries
  • Let's Get Social!

Sunday, Oct. 13: Convention concludes with officer reports from President Gabrielle Carteris, Secretary-Treasurer Camryn Manheim and the executive vice president elected during the opening day of convention. There will also be a Committee of Locals meeting (open to committee members, designated alternates, local presidents and authorized staff only).

The SAG-AFTRA National Board will meet Monday and Tuesday after the convention’s conclusion. 


2019 SAG-AFTRA Convention App


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