In 2008 I met Ed Asner during the last strike. Ed educated me on the history of our union and the fact
a new threat was at hand. That was the threat of UFS/USAN the two parties that were founded by Tom Hanks and other Actor/Producer/Employers.
USAN and UFS were able to gain a majority roughly 15 years ago. During their tenure, USAN/UFS officials have
negotiated away our Residuals, our Healthcare, Pension, Portal to Portal, and have turned our union into an
arm of the AMPTP (The organization that negotiates with SAG-AFTRA for our employers)
I spent 15 years warning USAN/UFS & the members each election that our healthcare & pension was in dire straights.
Finally, during the pandemic,12000 plus members were thrown off healthcare. The majority
of which were vulnerable Seniors. To make matters worse.USAN/UFS then denied Seniors
residuals as qualifying income to meet insurance earnings thresholds. They further canceled
the guaranteed health insurance after 20 years of tenure. They lied and blamed it on the pandemic!
A group of us backed and filed a lawsuit with Ed Asner spearheading it. The result was a judgment charging
USAN/UFS trustees with violating their fiduciary trust and our Seniors received a monetary judgment of
approximately 26 million.
The lawsuit proved that USAN/UFS trustees knowingly violated their fiduciary trust and lied to us about the
health of our union for 15 years plus! All for the benefit of our employers. They also ignored streaming residuals
for 15 years! And the last election they sent out brochures to over 160,000 members(at a cost of about $1.00 each) with Tom Hanks stating we needed streaming residuals and supported everything but the kitchen sink for us.
Hanks owns PLAYTONE (Over two billion Tom earned for just two Mama Mia Movies!!)
And to date, Hanks has not increased PLAYTONES’ payment of residuals nor increased contributions
to our P&H. They further lied in the last elections brochure with the statement that USAN had negotiated “MASSIVE’
new streaming residuals! Then why are we striking for streaming residuals if we already have MASSIVE residuals???
We are now striking because of the actions of Hanks led USAN/UFS parties these past 15 years.
They were All complicit in gaslighting us for 15 years.
Now we’re suffering the hardships of a strike caused by them! And where is Hanks in all this?? Hanks is most likely
on Lake Como living a life of wonton luxury while we suffer.
So what do we do? How do we save our union and return it to the rank & file?
First: We do not vote for any USAN/UFS candidate! None. They we”re ALL complicit in allowing this travesty.
Here are some of the solutions I’ve been lobbying USAN/UFS for over 15 years.
At present, our dues pay for USAN/UFS officials (like the 4 VPs I am running against) to lobby state and foreign governments for Producers’ tax credits. Some of these credits amount to upwards of 40% of their production costs.
In NY alone, we have allocated over 700 MILLION to be given freely to these Grifters with NOTHING trickling
down to the Rank & File.
As VP I would lobby states’ government to require a percentage of that free money be apportioned to an emergency/strike fund or any purpose we choose that benefits the Rank & File.
These cash payments are upwards of 40% and our officials should NOT be working to put money in our employers’
pockets without anything for us! USAN has worked to enrich our employers for far too long!
Second, I would lobby Washington to stop the exporting of American business & Intellectual property/technology.
Meaning film & tv. Hollywood is an American invention and should be protected. Hanks and the rest of his actor/producer cronies have pitted State and Foreign Governments for increased “Free money” against each other for far too long.
I would lobby Washington to decrease foreign aid or some sort of monetary punishment to countries that poach our productions overseas with cheap labor and cash incentives. Especially China. Our producers kiss the proverbial asses of Chinese officials and do not care that they are exporting an American business and financing China’s aggression towards America.
I would also lobby to levy an additional tax/fine on producers that film overseas utilizing foreign cash incentives.
Next: No caps on union dues. In 2020 A-lister George Clooney gave one million dollars in cash to each of 14 friends.
14 millionaires need not another million. Wealthy members should NOT pay less than their less fortunate members.
They should be lifting them up and not keeping them down. I say pay your fair share.
Union presence: Netflix and other studios & streamers are filming all over the world. I say we really support Global Rule One and begin establishing zones/locals Worldwide.
I would follow the streamers & studios everywhere they establish themselves and make it a SAG-AFTRA union local.
How to further help NY struggling Rank & File: I would establish a shared employment program in NY.
Right now former USAN/UFS member Rebecca Damon has become a salaried employee at a rate of over $100,000.00
per year plus a hefty expense account and great benefits(Heath & Pension that members haven’t!).
Ms. Damon is doing the same job she did as a volunteer elected official. So why pay her now? Possibly a reward for services rendered to our employers? You know the answer to that.
What I’ve proposed all these years and as NY VP I will implement a “Shared Employment Program”.
Each job at SAG-AFTRA would be shared by two members and one alternate.
The idea is that two members would make their own hours depending on auditions & acting, stunt, etc work.
This would give members steady employment/income. And because the job is shared. Each member would be able to take off for auditions, and classes & free to work on union bookings whenever necessary. There would always be someone to cover for the member who needs to do SAG-AFTRA things as there are always two persons to cover their shift.
As far as a lack of reps on set to keep productions compliant with all contract provisions. I will institute a Key Background Artist on each set. Much like a key PA that is in charge of all PAs but in this case.Would be in charge of all Background Artists(and Principles of course if necessary). This would ensure that every set has a union member on set to ensure contract compliance, safe working conditions, etc.
I would also like to keep the office open 24 hours to facilitate members working strange and dangerous hours.
A designated area could be set aside for members to rest in between jobs/auditions or a safe place to wait for a train or bus.
We would have coffee, tea, and light snacks for the members.
After all, it is our union, our office. Paid for by our dues.
I would enforce monthly casting directors’ meet & greets. I would however insist that principal casting directors attend as opposed to only background casting, as has been the case for years.
The addition of a true 24-hour emergency call center to protect members with cab rides when wrapped in dangerous neighborhoods or forany other emergency.Manned by NY members with training and authority to act on members’ behalves. Any charges or funds disbursed forcabs etc would be charged back to the production company causing the emergency.
I would also require ALL new members to attend an orientation and I would cease the rampant availability of waivers.
Too many times I’ve seen non-union waivered when union members were readily available.
We have too many members competing for too few union jobs.
We need to revamp and clarify principal upgrades. Far too many background artists are doing principal physical & silent
principle bits without proper compensation and recognition for their talent.
And of course, I am 100% for open board meetings with member participation.
Members must be allowed to watch what their elected officials are doing or not doing.
And every single member working on ANY contract must be recognized and represented
in every contract negotiation.No member is left behind.EVER!
I’ll be sending more emails in the coming weeks outlining further plans for NY.
In the interim. Please attend my live and streamed town hall and candidate meet & greet on August 11th from 12noon til 10 pm at 873 Broadway #205 at 18th street across from Netflix 🙂
Come after you picket.
There will be beer & wine & a casual atmosphere to network & relax from strike stress.
Below is the link to attend online & chat with other members or ask questions of candidates in attendance if you cannot attend in person.
Of The Members
For The Members
NY Vice President # 10
NY Local Board. # 36
NY National Board# 75
NY Delegate # 146
*My website will be up and working with further information by Friday’s event 8/11 at voteforchange.nyc
Any need to communicate in the interim:
I can be reached at:
Link to attend online below:
Kevin Cannon is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: SAG-AFTRA Election 2023 Kevin Cannon NY VP Vote # 10 Local Board # 36 National Board # 75 Delegate # 146
Time: Aug 11, 2023 11:45 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 813 1292 5369
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