As you might have heard, Northwest performers, there’s an election coming up in November!
If you watch television at all, you’ve probably seen this year’s crop of political ads appearing on local TV stations. This weekend APP-NW Board Co-Chair (and Portland SAG-AFTRA Board member) Chrisse Roccaro shared this message on the PDXBackstage listserv – and we thought you’d like to see it too!
Regardless of your party affiliation, all SAG-AFTRA members have a stake in trying to ensure that our local candidates not only produce their advertising locally, but also that they use SAG-AFTRA contracts and members when they do. To that end, here’s a draft letter I wrote to my legislators followed by a more formal letter crafted by staff that you can use as a template to contact your very own legislators with this reminder.
Make sure to ID yourself as a constituent as well as a SAG-AFTRA actor. Let’s get our members as much work from this election season as we can!
My letter – which is skewed to Democrats because I am one, but you can tailor yours to any party or no party at all:
As a registered Democrat, your constituent and a SAG-AFTRA actor, I’m concerned that persons running for office in Oregon on the Democratic ticket are not aware that they should be using local, union talent when producing campaign radio and television commercials that require reenactments by actors or narrations by voice actors.
This is something that comes up every election and it concerns me and my fellow actors trying to make a living in Oregon that candidates are not only going out of state for PR services but allowing those PR firms to produce ads using non-union talent. It is especially troubling in the case of candidates that are endorsed by organized labor (OR AFL/CIO). Many of these candidates who are incumbents have supported the Oregon Film Incentive programs, and for that we are grateful. This issue, however, goes hand in hand with that support.
What assurances can you give me that the Oregon Democratic Party is actively involved in seeing that these legislators “put their money where their mouths are?” Campaign ad work is a vital part of how Oregon actors earn their living, and are able to put their money where their mouths are and do their part to help Oregon’s economy grow.
Thank you for your prompt reply.
Here’s the union’s generic version:
Dear (insert candidate’s name),
Elections are quickly approaching and I’m sure you are very busy preparing your campaign. As you do so, I hope that you will consider using SAG-AFTRA contracts and hiring professional performers for your election advertising. As the faces and voices that entertain and inform America and the world, our performers are best able to effectively communicate your campaign message to the electorate. SAG-AFTRA represents more than 165,000 professional performers, including 900+ that live and work here in Oregon.
Our union is active in promoting the growth of Oregon’s film and entertainment industry, which contributes greatly to the economic vitality of our state. We ask that you demonstrate your support for this important industry by using SAG-AFTRA contracts and hiring professional talent to voice your television, radio and internet commercials.
If you or your staff would like to discuss your campaign advertising, please contact the SAG-AFTRA Portland Local at 866-672-3872 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to hearing from you.
As you know, The Alliance of Professional Performers NW is a movement of non-union and union performers. We’d like to encourage every performer in the Northwest – union or not – to follow Chrisse’s example. Remind those running in this year’s elections that there are professional performers working in their state, and their districts… and those professional performers vote!
Don’t know who’s running to represent you in this year’s election? It’s easy to find out – just visit Project VoteSmart! Scroll to the bottom of the home page, type your address in the “search” box and click “submit,” then click the link marked “See Upcoming Election Information Only” on the next page that comes up. You’ll find links to EVERYONE running to represent you in this year’s elections – including their contact information. Take a few minutes to contact the candidates asking for your vote, and let them know how important local hiring is!