Dear UBCP/ACTRA Members:
As I complete my 12th year of service to this union, I am struck by what an honour, privilege, and challenge the years have been. I am incredibly proud of the work I’ve done here. I know I have made a positive difference to this union, in ways that will continue long after I have moved on. I also know that the people I have met along the way have taught me so much and I am thankful for all the experiences I have garnered in union leadership.
I wholeheartedly support the next Executive Board, and I would ask that all the members do as well. The Board is privy to all kinds of information and details that the members are not, for a myriad of reasons. The voting members have made their voices heard, by carefully selecting those elected to serve. These Board Members represent you and will need your support with the difficult decisions they are going to have to make during their term. If you find yourself disagreeing with them, I urge you to ask questions and ensure you are fully informed about the varying factors that impact the issue at hand before publicly stating what may be misinformation. Attending committee and membership meetings can be very informative.
In the recent All Candidates Meeting, I was struck by how many of the candidates mischaracterized the work the Executive Board does. For clarity, the Board directs the policy of the union, which in turn directs the staff. It does not do the work of the union.
For example, if you have a complaint, you should contact the Union and speak to staff. Every show has a Rep. We have a Health and Safety Advocate. Every department has a manager. If you are unsure about who to contact, feel free to ask an Executive Board member to direct you to the manager best suited to help. However, Board directors do not and cannot engage in the work staff does. The Union would be infringing on our collective agreement with Unifor (the union for UBCP/ACTRA staff) and the contracts with our managers. It would be the same as a crew member stepping in front of the camera, which would be a violation of our collective agreement. If you believe staff are not providing adequate support to your concern, then you can inform the President, who will then follow up on your behalf and ensure that your issue has been fairly assessed.
The changes we have recently made to the organizational structure will benefit our staff and members. There will be more support for all departments. I have worked closely with staff during my tenure and know that they care very much about our members and celebrate all our victories. I know the Residuals department is thrilled knowing members will have money come in for the holidays. I see the excitement among show reps when a leading role on an American production goes to a member. Staff are always passionately hunting down preference of engagement violations. They are truly proud of the work they do.
As President, I worked very closely with our Executive Administrative Director (EAD) Karla Laird. I want to thank her for all the work she is doing to ensure the staff are properly supported – so that our members’ needs are met. Karla is a breath of fresh air to our organization and brings calm, professional order to our sometimes chaotic industry.
I have been joined at the hip with Lesley Brady, our Director of Contracts, sometimes for months on end. She knows our collective agreements better than anyone – in the world. She has excellent negotiating skills and is immensely respected by our industry partners and at the negotiating table. Lesley is an asset to our organization. I am proud to have worked alongside her.
Thank you to Chris Pop who is our new Manager of Finance. I already see the positive changes Chris is making – clean and concise financials. Chris is very committed and astute and will serve our union well.
I also want to thank all the board members who are stepping away now, after many years of service.
Jo has served the union for 20 years. In that time, she was the protector of our Bylaws. Jo has been a constant through a lot of change. Speaking from my generation, she’s one of those women who was often the only woman in the room and oftentimes was the only one with an opposing opinion. I know she dealt with a lot of frustration, but she stuck to her guns for the sake of good debate, democracy, and the membership. She is meticulous and the success of our Bylaws is due to her work and diligence.
I personally asked Enid-Raye to run for the board. Her ability to articulate difficult topics is astounding. Her fight for the Mental Health and Addiction Fund, the establishment of unconscious gender bias training as well as a change to the reporting of sexual assault incidents, will have a lasting impact for our members. She walks the walk of feminism and is an asset to our membership.
Angela worked with Enid-Raye on advancing the goals of the Women’s Committee, but also chaired another committee, through a very difficult time. The establishment of the BIPOC committee solidified the advocacy for members of colour and demanded a BIPOC lens at the leadership level. Her work, including BIPOC Makeup and Hair awareness and the Mentorship Program, will resound for generations. Her work was particularly emotional and exhausting, and was of great service to all of us.
Angela served with us for less than a year, replacing Paul Dzenkiw who joined UBCP/ACTRA staff in the Commercials Department. Angela stepped in at a very difficult time with grace and dignity, and brought a lens for the stunt community to our conversations.
Rob served for many years on the Board. He stepped back into union service after working for several years as a producer. He brought a keen understanding of our agreements and knowledge of funding models and industry standards, that positively helped inform our decision making.
Garry served several terms on the Executive Board in the past and returned to lend his perspective and experience at the table. His institutional knowledge and breadth of work in the industry is exceptional. We are grateful for his many years of service and for stepping back into the fray in a difficult time.
John steered our Education Committee for the last 6 years and created a flourishing array of education opportunities for our members. He also created the Principal Performers Committee and spearheaded the self-tape subsidy initiative and the Casting Director’s Forum. I would particularly like to acknowledge John for his role as my Vice President. Six years ago, when I encouraged him to run for the Executive Board, I knew that he had a very deep reach into our community. The number of members who show up at meetings increased when he joined. He brought his good reputation to the Union and to a position that can sometimes feel thankless. I want to thank you, John. You were by my side during very difficult times. You were always an amazing sounding board and often had game changing insights. I could not have done this job without you. I and the membership are in your debt for your service.
I thank you all for your exceptional service and wish you well in your next chapter!
In closing, I leave you in excellent hands! The officers are committed, intelligent members with experience. Keith has steered the ship before and will do so again with integrity and insight. I am excited about the contributions our eight new Executive Board members will bring to the work of the union.
I want this Board to know that you have my absolute support. If I can ever be of any assistance, I will be. Thank you for stepping up and I wish you a very calm and uneventful three years!