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Hello SAG-AFTRA Michigan Local friends and colleagues.
My name is Brooke Allen.
I am your independent candidate for Michigan Local President. I have been a broadcaster for the last 30 years.
Starting my career in California before coming home to Michigan ((how many years ago?)). I have been fortunate to spend the majority of that time as a news anchor on the Detroit flagship WWJ.
I’m running for Michigan Local President because change and unity are paramount to making the union presence stronger. If elected, I will be the first ever broadcaster and woman to serve as Michigan local president since our union merger.
Not only am I a broadcaster, I majored in theater at Eastern Michigan University. This allows me to see the commonalities of our SAG members and our AFTRA members, while also acknowledging our differences.
Both actors and journalists find their livelihoods affected by low wages and pay disparities; the worry of qualifying for health benefits, and the threat of job loss to automation and AI. Both of our groups are witnessing the integrity of our crafts diminished by media parent companies and studios only worrying about the bottom line. This creates burnout and an unbearable workload for those lucky enough to keep or find jobs. It also renders a subpar finished product: a film that cannot move or change its audience; a commercial that fails to sell its product; or journalism that disregards facts. This loses the trust of our viewers & listeners, and in its most egregious falsehoods, can do real harm and cause division.
Many of us have dreamed of working in either the film or journalism industry since childhood; only to realize it sometimes does not even provide a livable wage and the working conditions can be uncomfortable.
The Michigan Local Chapter of SAG-AFTRA is suffering from an identity crisis. We still have no Local Michigan office. Our membership is diminishing. We’re losing jobs to other markets in other states. While Michigan is home to dozens of TV and radio stations, only two in the entire state are a part of SAG-AFTRA, leaving hundreds of our fellow radio and television artists without union representation.
We have to work together to give them a reason to want to join our union family. Our current local leaders have failed to do this despite serving several consecutive terms on our board. This is why my fellow candidate and I will seek to amend our constitution to bring term limits to our Michigan Local.
By working together, we will reclaim that identity! We will stand united to fight for livable wages for all, better conditions on sets, in newsrooms and in studios. And also ensure our stunt performers not only get better pay, but also get residuals for their extremely difficult work.
We will bring back the transparency you deserve by securing a budget friendly Meeting space, and holding monthly open networking sessions to brain storm ideas and address member concerns.
In addition, we we’ll be starting a monthly podcast focusing on the state of our SAG-AFTRA National and Michigan Local Union. This ensures that you are always up-to-date on everything that our board is doing for you.
I look forward to giving you the chance to see more value for your membership— with many local businesses willing to work with us to enhance our deals and discounts, while pumping more money into the state economy.
And lastly, my friend and fellow Michigan Local independent candidate, Franco Pulice, and I, will continue our unions fight for new film incentives. We’ll work together with our legislator friends in Lansing so we can keep the best jobs and productions right here in Michigan.
It’s time for Change. It’s time for transparency. It’s time for unity… And it starts with this election!
Fellow Members of SAG-AFTRA Michigan Local,
The status quo isn’t working. We need new faces and fresh ideas on our local board. We need a strong, steadfast, leader that fights for all of our Michigan Local membership to represent us and our best interests on the National Board. Member involvement and servitude are essential to a healthy and well functioning union. 2 years ago I began to answer that call when I was elected National Delegate of our Michigan Local. With this incredible opportunity given to me by you, our voting membership, I’ve worked with many other elected SAG-AFTRA members across the country on both the Local and National levels. Having daily communications about the state of our union, my/our collaborative efforts have continually strived for protecting our members rights and equality in opportunities.
Our dire need for improved contracts is at the forefront. As I type this, the final minutes of negotiations have run out with no new contract agreement between our SAG-AFTRA negotiators and the AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers).
The SAG-AFTRA STRIKE begins today! We must stand strong and stand together for as long as it takes to be sure all of our memberships needs are met in the face of new, challenging and unprecedented changes to the industry. Streaming content should more appropriately compensate our talent. And AI (Artificial Intelligence) must not be allowed to replace the real and incredibly talented performances from our membership. Our likenesses are not for sale, nor is the soul of our union... genuine talent. It has given us some of the greatest moments in history... from iconic roles in films and television that we quote on a daily basis to historical broadcasts that changed the world.
For over 10 years now we are a merged union - a BIG, INCREDIBLY TALENTED FAMILY. While we have much in common, these merged unions do have some individual needs. If given the opportunity to serve on the National Board, I will continue my ongoing conversations with our mostly SAG working membership and our mostly AFTRA working membership. This, too, ensures a seamless SAG-AFTRA Union evolution. We here in the Michigan Local can set the example for our National Union family and raise the bar of how a Local Union can be run.
In our Michigan Local Board, many member seats have run vastly unopposed for years. Far too long, in fact. While we can appreciate these willing members for their time and efforts during their duly elected positions, there must be room for new leadership- those willing to serve with new ideas and understanding that meet the evolution of our needs. Term limits must be imposed. If elected to the National Board, one of my goals will be to seek amendment to our Michigan Local Constitution to ensure that our board members can only serve two consecutive terms at a time for each board seat. This ensures that evolution and allows our new membership and also younger membership equal representation by peers that understand our ever changing industry.
During my 26 years in the industry, there has never been a time where Michigan’s presence within our national industry has been so overlooked, and to some, all but forgotten. I cannot in good conscience allow this to continue. We are a powerful Local and thus should have a powerful voice and seat at the National table. The unfortunate truth is that job opportunities for our large talent base are few. We still have no new film incentives, but have many local industry professionals striving to resurrect a new and comprehensive plan for Michigan. I will work with these individuals, groups, and our Michigan Legislature to bring these new incentives to fruition. More jobs and better rates for those jobs, including renewed residuals, will be the number one goal of my hopeful National Board position.
I look forward to this election and campaigning to continue serve you all. I wish my fellow Michigan Local members running for election a great and healthy summer. Our common goals are for prosperity for all in our Michigan Local Union. Common goals are what should bring us together, not keep us apart. We don’t have to wait for election to be a great example of leadership. We can do that starting now. Our campaign emails and social media posts during this election should be about hope for the future of our Michigan-based industry and increased togetherness as a Local Union family. I ask everyone to please join me in keeping this a peaceful, civil and kind election.
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