MERYL & SAG-AFTRA & SHERI

Sheri Lawrence at the Super BowI: I’d like to share my daughter-in-law’s joy. Sheri is President of Tylie Jones & Associates and a Super Giant’s fan.

I want to Talk about my thrilled-ness for my daughter-in-law Sheri’s Super Bowl time (It was Super!) and the swirl of happenings in the historic effort to achieve a powerful new Union for performers. So many in our community are involved in the entertainment industry, so please spread this good news … And Meryl was in the hood!

MERYL VOTES “YES”

A screening of The Iron Lady brought the celestial Meryl Streep to NOHO’s Television Academy. After an extraordinary Q&A, she graciously signed autographs for the first row fans. On a whim, I went down to the stage and had the opportunity to ask her a question: “Ms. Streep, are you for the SAG-AFTRA merger?” She raised her head and most definitely said, ‘Yes, yes I am. I am for this!” I thanked her and mentioned that I was a Board Member and appreciated her support. Then she leaned down and said, “Thank you for your service.” A gratifying moment that left me pumped up until, well, I haven’t gotten over it yet. I’m deeply in love with her — I don’t care who knows it. From the reaction of the Academy audience, I’m not the only one. And Meryl, truly a First Lady of films, is not the only one who is for this new union … some words from a few members of SAG and AFTRA.

SAG’S FIRST LADY, LINDA HOWARD

Meryl Streep. Generously signing autographs at the Television Academy after a screening of “The Iron Lady.”

“As a member since 1982 and a former President of the Stuntwomen’s Association of Motion Pictures, Inc., I understand the urgency of the need for merger. I’ve seen our employers grow stronger while we remain divided, and I know merger is the best way to strengthen ourselves and protect the future. It’s the last thing Management wants us to do, because they will lose the ability to play one union against the other. Merger will increase our bargaining strength and it’s a critical opportunity to determine the best way to adapt to the changes in technology we’re facing.

“As the wife of the President, I see a man who has worked extremely hard for three years in a non-paying position, even though it has actually caused him to lose some work opportunities. I’ve seen the time and effort that he and many selfless others have given to achieving this goal on behalf of members. I know some people assume this is automatic because it’s clear how many members need it to happen, but this is too important to take for granted….”

Linda Howard, Mrs. Ken Howard.

And, a few more working members in our neighborhood:

PAUL ROGAN: “I am very much in favor of the union merger. Coming from a country [the UK] with one union for all types of actors, I never saw the sense of splitting our negotiating power and having to navigate several sets of dues, joining fees, and health plans.” I asked Paul about his popular Impro schedule and he replied, “Impro Theatre’s next production (thank you for asking!) is Jane Austen Unscripted at the Pasadena Playhouse for the month of March (improtheatre.com). I perform and co-direct with Dan O’Connor.” And he finishes with, “I’m sure the merger is going to make a lot of people very happy.”

EILEEN BARNETT: She is also for the merger and this Sherman Oaks’ actress is currently starring in the award-winning Musical Theatre Guild’s presentation of Little Women. David and I are going to the final performance Sunday, Feb. 19, at the Scherr Forum at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. We are such fans of Eileen’s and the Musical Theatre Guild. Based on the classic novel, this Tony Award-nominated musical is a real winner! Ticketmaster might be a good call.

BOBBIE BATES: “Yes!” Check out Bobbie on Facebook; this North Hollywood dancer has been on the planning committee and has done nothing but good for both SAG and AFTRA. Her explanations are concise and wise. She states, “I hope you will all realize the importance of this merger to the future of our unions.” Thanks for your service, Bobbie, as an Iron Lady once said to me.

THE NEW UNION

The time to vote is at hand; the ballots should be in the mail.

We’ll Talk!