Formerly NY Actor/StandBy NY • Winter 2013 • Volume 2 • No. 1
New Media Rescues Soaps
Welcome home, All My Children and
One Life to Live! You were sorely missed.
By Janette Gautier
etween 2009 and 2012, New York
actors lost our last four daytime dramas:
Guiding Light, As the World Turns,
All My Children and One Life to Live.
AMC left New York after 40 years for a supposedly
new life in Los Angeles, unfortunately, a year and
a half later, it was cancelled. Just last year I wrote
a fond farewell to OLTL, which was canceled in
January 2012 after more than 10,000 episodes
and hundreds of thousands of jobs for actors. We
thought soap operas would never be seen here
again. I’m delighted to say we were wrong!
Prospect Park Productions, which acquired the
rights to All My Children and One Life to Live,
has announced plans to bring them to the Internet.
Agreements have been reached with
SAG-AFTRA and other unions. According to
various press reports, shooting starts later this
month in Connecticut. Programs
will be 30 minutes in length
and shown on Hulu and iTunes
via The Online Network, with
episodes becoming available in
April. Also reported in the press
is that many of the contract
players are returning to parts that
made them fan favorites nationwide,
including Debbie Morgan, Darnell
Williams, Thorsten Kaye, Jill Larson and
Vincent Irizarry of AMC; Erica Slezak, Robert
Woods, Hilary Bailey Smith, Kassie DePaiva
(see interview on page 6) and Robin Strasser of
OLTL. Fans are rejoicing and so is SAG-AFTRA.
Both One Life to Live and All My Children were
the creations of Agnes Nixon. In 1968, Nixon said she
was “tired of the restraints imposed by the WASP-y,
nature of daytime
drama.” Using
classic soap opera
formulas, she
emphasized the
ethnic and socioeconomic diversity
of the people of
Pine Valley and
Llanview, Penn.
Fans will be elated
to learn that Nixon
will be acting as
an advisor for
her shows’ new
incarnations online.
– Janette Gautier is
a SAG-AFTRA National
and New York Local
Board member.
Young Performers Get
Lesson In Negotiating
page 3
UPDATE: Legislative
page 4
Christine Nagy of 106.7 LiteFM
page 5
Kassie DePaiva
page 6
Hurricane Sandy Hits Home
for Traffic Reporter
page 9
UPDATE: Audiobooks
page 10
Tribute to Martha Greenhouse
page 11
Ed Fry
Valerie Macon
Liz Zazzi
New York-based comedy 30 Rock garnered two trophies at the 19th Annual SAG Awards in January.
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series recipient Tina Fey, second from
left, poses with, from left, SAG-AFTRA New York Co-President Mike Hodge, New York Co-1st
Vice President Rebecca Damon and National Co-President Roberta Reardon. Alec Baldwin was
the recipient for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series.
Q+A: Graham & Hodge
Sam Freed
Anne Gartlan
Mike Hodge
John Metaxas
Jeff Spurgeon
Sharon Washington
Richard Baldwin
Communications Coordinator
Bernadine Goldberg
Manager, Member Outreach
Victoria Pistone
Manager, Communications
ew York Co-Presidents Holter Graham and Mike Hodge discuss the state of our union since the
historic merger, which will reach its one-year anniversary at the end of this month. N.Y. Local
Communications Co-Chairs Ed Fry and Liz Zazzi had a chance to interview them together.
CO-CHAIRS: Thanks for talking with us. We are
now coming up on one year since the two former
organizations were formed into one new
union, SAG-AFTRA. What do you see as
our most significant accomplishments?
MIKE HODGE: The first thing is,
“We did it.” But the more important
discovery is how different we were as
organizations. AFTRA had autonomous
local offices. SAG was a national organization
with branches and divisions with some autonomy.
SAG-AFTRA attempts to marry the best of both
philosophies. For instance, we have complete
autonomy over how we want to govern ourselves
— our Local Constitution and Rules of Procedure
have been completed and are being utilized, which
means we can decide our schedules and governance.
But our finances are centralized, which means they
can be invested to greater value, giving our finance
department a greater economic efficiency.
HOLTER GRAHAM: Quite a bit. We wrote and
adopted our new Local Constitution. With Hurricane
Sandy, the strongest hands reached out to help each
other in the best traditions of the union. We held the
first merged membership meeting, seeing who we
are now and what we want to achieve together. We
settled into a regular schedule of New York
Local Board meetings, getting to know each
other, identifying differences, developing
new policy, generally getting our work
done. With TV and film, seeing that we’re
as strong as ever with more opportunity all
the time. We’ve prepared for the commercials
contracts negotiations. New York’s last two
daytime shows are back and will begin their new
lives as pioneer online dramas under a deal with
Prospect Park. And we’ve worked with New York
dancers who were pivotal in helping the union
achieve its first-ever music video agreement. This
doesn’t mention any of the committees that have
gotten to work, as well. Like I said, quite a bit.
There have been noticeable staff changes in New
York. How are all the members in entertainment,
broadcast information and entertainment, and
sound recordings doing as a result?
GRAHAM: Change is never easy, and it has hurt me
continues on page 10 >>>
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Cover art - hand & cell phone:
Victor Zakharevych/;
hand & tablet:
N.Y. Young Performers Get
a Lesson in Collective Bargaining
hile SAG-AFTRA members and
rehearsal under the
staff were busy preparing for
watchful eyes of Gadea
the 2013 commercials contracts
and Touretz, who made
negotiations, the next generation of negotiators
sure the agreed upon
was being groomed at a seminar titled Let’s
working conditions
Make a Deal: Young Performers “Mock”
were being upheld.
Negotiation Workshop. Hosted by the New
The final product,
York Local’s Young Performers Committee,
called Work Together,
the event was held on Saturday, Dec. 8 at
was set in a subway
the local office at 260 Madison Avenue.
car stopped between
Sponsored by a grant from the Screen
stations by a depressed
Actors Guild-Producers Industry Advancement
train conductor
Cooperative Fund, the event was coordinated
who was too sad to
by the co-chairs of the New York Local Young
continue driving. The
Performers Committee — Alan Simon, New
passengers attempt to
From left, Kezia Dacosta, Katya Savina, Victoria Pannell and
York Local Co-President Holter Graham and
cheer up the conductor,
Alestair Shu rehearse their dance moves for the performance.
Lee Bryant — along with Manager of Member
ultimately learning
Outreach Bernadine Goldberg and Manager of
that they need to work
Communications Victoria Pistone.
together to get the best results.
far the union extends over what I do and how
The day began with a panel of industry
After the show, it was time to get “paid.”
much I’m protected as a union member.”
experts who gave
The young performers
“When I started in films as a young performer,
“It’s been really cool
career advice for young
received their negotiated
someone explained Coogan laws to me the day
performers. The panel
compensation of fruit
I signed with the union, and I’ve felt protected
to see how far the
consisted of Carly Hugo,
and candy, but two of the
ever since.” said Graham. “The kids at the event
union extends over
producer at The Group
dancers discovered they had
astonished me with their focus and dedication
what I do and how
Entertainment; Denise
received only half their due
to each other. SAG-AFTRA Senior Advisor
much I’m protected
Simon, acting and career
in chocolate coins. After the
John McGuire said he may frame the mock pay
coach at Simon Coaching
situation was remedied, they
schedule our kids came up with, because even
as a union member.”
Group; and Victoria Kress,
were asked what they would
seasoned negotiators could learn from it.”
— Isabelle Goodman
head of the youth division at
do if that happened on a
Committee Co-Chair Simon said, “We thank
Don Buchwald and Associates.
real job. Kezia Dacosta immediately responded,
the IACF for their sponsorship of these ongoing
After the panel, the mock negotiating
“Call the union!”
seminar events these past almost 20 years. It
commenced. The young performers, who
Parents and children were equally enthusiastic
has helped us to educate our young performers
ranged in age from 7 to 17, were separated into
about the day. Young performer Isabelle
on being both better union members as well as
three teams, each led by a SAG-AFTRA staff
Goodman said, “It’s been really cool to see how
better business people.”
mentor. The three guest panelists represented
the management side. The teams were assigned
to negotiate a specific aspect of a short
Three-day rate: Clementine
performance the young performers would give
at the end of the day.
Day rate: One bag of chocolate coins
Scale: A box of raisins
The red team was led by Business
Residuals: One bag of chocolate coins
Series Regular: Cherry candy
Representative of Theatrical Contracts Jackie
Ultra-low budget film: One box of raisins
cane and a bag of fruit snacks
Gadea and negotiated what the performance
Stunt: Cherry candy cane or fruit snack
topic would be. The green team was matched
Extra: A box of raisins (scale)
with Business Representative of Commercial
and Industrial Contracts Justin Touretz, and
• All breaks are five minutes
Singer/Dancer: Two bags
negotiated the working conditions for the
• Performers 13 and older, breaks
of chocolate coins
hour-long rehearsal. The blue team worked
at 30 minutes and 50 minutes
with Senior Manager of Television Contracts
• Performers 12 and under,
Steven Meicke, and negotiated the pay scale for
one additional three-minute
the performance, consisting of a “budget” of
break at 15 minutes
various candy and fruit snacks (see sidebar).
Week: Two bags of chocolate coins
• 30-minute mark break: PARTY TIME!
After lunch, Co-Chair Graham directed the
Legislative and Public Policy
he landscape of our work
is defined not only by our
collectively bargained contracts
but also by legislation and public
policy. Washington, Albany,
Trenton and Hartford can have
as much impact on our work as
the contracts we negotiate.
Great news on the young
performer front. Final rules for the
Child Performer Education and Trust Act
have been posted on the NYS Department of
Labor website. This marks the end of a very
long process to fully implement the act that
was passed in 2003. Among other things,
the act deals with work permits, mandatory
trust accounts and set instruction for working
young performers. The legislation was
the first of its kind by any state outside of
California and marks a significant milestone
in the protection of young performers, union
and non-union alike, in New York state and
beyond. If you have questions regarding the
new rules, contact the New York Local legal
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo
has a new proposal regarding the
film and television tax incentives that
will be included in his budget. His
proposal extends the current program
through 2019, with modifications. We
remain hopeful that the state Legislature will
continue to invest in our industry, adding jobs
to our local economy by building on our past
success. We will keep members informed as
this important proposal moves through the
The New York State Continuation
Assistance Demonstration Program for
Entertainment Industry Employees, otherwise
known simply as the COBRA Program,
continues to operate. If you have lost health
coverage in either health plan and are
currently extending it through COBRA, see
if this unique N.Y. program will work for
Hurricane Sandy relief was finally passed
by the Congress. For those in need, links to
assistance of all kinds can be found on the
N.Y. Local webpage at
And nationally, as part of the January
“fiscal cliff” agreement, Congress passed
a one-year extension of U.S. film and
television incentive, known as Section 181.
These incentives are designed to encourage
domestic production of film and television,
and operate in addition to any active state
incentive program.
As always, our strength is your voice.
When you receive “Get Active” alerts, please
respond. When we speak with one voice,
decision-makers listen.
From left, N.Y. Local Co-2nd Vice Presidents Liz Zazzi and Jim Kerr, National Co-Presidents
Ken Howard and Roberta Reardon, N.Y. Local Co-1st Vice President Rebecca Damon, N.Y.
Local Co-President Mike Hodge, and National Board member Sharon Washington
SAG-AFTRA made its first official
appearance at Actorfest New York
on Nov. 17. The trade show, held
annually by Backstage, allows attendees
to collect information about a variety
of organizations and services for
professional actors, and gave both
members and members-to-be the
opportunity to ask questions about
the union. Representatives of the
MOVE and MORE committees —
Stuart Green, Verania Kenton,
Joyce Korbin, Keith Randolph Smith
and Joan Valentina — were in
attendance to represent SAG-AFTRA.
Holiday Open House a Success
AG-AFTRA celebrated its first holiday
season as a merged union at the N.Y.
Local Host Committee’s Holiday Open
House, held on Dec. 13 in the Leon Janney
Boardroom of 360 Madison Avenue. More
than 550 members came to the party, which
was attended by SAG-AFTRA National
Co-Presidents Ken Howard and Roberta
Reardon, N.Y. Co-President Mike Hodge,
and members of the New York Local Board.
While this is the fifth annual holiday party
for the N.Y. Host Committee, it was the
first year the event was held for the new
union. “One of the things I absolutely
love about service in SAG-AFTRA is
meeting and interacting with our members,”
said Hodge. “The N.Y. Host Holiday
Celebration is one of those wonderful
opportunities to do that. I really want to
give a great big thanks to the committee
for staging such a wonderful event which
gets bigger and better every year.”
Keith Randolph Smith and Joan Valentina
speak to attendees at Actorfest
New York.
Christine Nagy
By Liz Zazzi
ave a backup
plan,” cautioned
her parents,
as then-Montclair State
University freshman Christine
Nagy declared her passion
for acting. “As if a career in
broadcasting was any less
challenging,” she laughs. “I
jumped right in.”
She credits MSU for
preparing her for the
professional world. “I was
wooed by NBC when I
graduated, hired to do
Shadow Traffic and Weather.
They were eager to groom me
as a TV news correspondent,
but I was drawn to radio.
I was more suited to the
immediate and personal
connection, the spontaneity
where I could improvise — as
actors do.” It was early in her
career that Christine realized
the importance of her union:
Shadow Traffic reporters
were targeted for elimination
by producers, but AFTRA
prevailed. “I have a medical
and pension plan thanks to
my union.”
While at Shadow Traffic,
Christine was invited to
a launch party for Q104’s
(104.3 FM) new format, switching from classical music to pure rock.
She researched and “dressed the part,” impressing honcho Bob Elliott.
She was hired to co-anchor the morning drive on Q104 for two years,
and then iconic Z100 (100.3 FM) asked her to join the “Morning Zoo,”
reporting news and entertainment news, and commenting on the latest
trends. Her knack for spotting future superstars would include Adele and
Lady Gaga (“an early Z100 fan who taped our shows!”).
Her stint with Z100 lasted more than eight years, while she
simultaneously explored other opportunities, from hosting at Caroline’s
on Broadway to returning to her first passion, acting. “I played Tina
in Tony ’N Tina’s Wedding for two years and realized I didn’t want to
close that door.” So, Christine took a hiatus to perform in plays and
independent films. But radio still beckoned, and she found herself
freelancing on Sirius XM on the Martha Stewart Channel. “Once again,
I did my homework and was able to ‘improvise’ my skills as a home
décor expert.” It was at Sirius XM that Christine met her idol, Howard
Stern. “He is simply the best interviewer,” she stated in a BBC Radio
1 interview. That endorsement made its way to Stern’s Sirius XM
program, and Christine felt she’d achieved a career dream. “Having him
acknowledge me was thrilling.”
Then LiteFM (106.7 FM),
a sister station of Z100, was
transitioning from a mostly
music morning show to include
talk, info and entertainment.
Christine was identified as
the perfect host. “Elvis Duran
taught me how to do a morning
show. He’s mentored so many
of us,” including former
intern, now Z100 personality
TJ Taormina, whom she calls
the “next big thing.” Christine
currently shares LiteFM hosting
duties with Bob Bronson. “I love
my incredibly supportive team.
Producer Jamie (Megargee),
Bob and the crew are amazing!”
I asked Christine about her
typical day. “I’m up at 3 a.m. and
at the station at 4:30 a.m. because
I write the news, entertainment
news, sports, traffic and weather.
I check the news feeds and also
think about what’s trending,
so I can determine what will
lead the banter. We’re live at
5:30 a.m., and even while the
listeners hear music playing,
Bob and I are talking about the
next live segment. We’re off
the air at 9 a.m., but there’s no
decompression. We’re prepping
and recording national feeds,
answering emails and responding
on social media.” She describes
her downtime as anything but. “I’m always taking in information and
processing how I’ll talk about it the next day.”
As hard as she’s worked to achieve her successes, Christine modestly
says, “I am so lucky. Few broadcasters are able to start and maintain a
career in a major market. I started in N.Y. and I stayed here. I love my job,
and I work down the hall from an idol — Jim Kerr!”
To budding broadcasters she advises: “Create content. Do podcasts.
Feed your passion.” Smaller markets where hopefuls could hone their
skills are a thing of the past. “Media is constantly evolving. I have a
YouTube Channel, and Twitter and Facebook accounts, both personal and
for the station.” She maintains that the human connection is essential.
“Some of the feedback I get is so touching. I feel like we keep each
other going. People will always need entertainment, information and
a companion. A computer can make a playlist for you, but nothing can
replace the interaction that a listener has with a person.”
Laura Desantis-Olsson /Olsson Photography
— Liz Zazzi is a SAG-AFTRA National and Local New York
Board member and co-chair of the New York Local
Communications Committee.
Ed Fry
Kassie DePaiva
assie DePaiva is an actress and singer best known for her longtime
role as Blair Cramer on the daytime drama One Life to Live.
Canceled from broadcast television in 2010, OLTL is coming back
online this year. I spoke to Kassie by phone about her career, our union
and the prospect of returning to her iconic character in a new format.
ED FRY: Kassie, thanks for talking with us.
You’re a New Yorker now but you come from
KASSIE DePAIVA: Yes. I grew up in Kentucky,
singing a lot in church and talent shows, wherever
I could. I never thought of it as an actual career or
profession, but when I was a senior in high school,
I auditioned for Opryland in Nashville. I made
$200 a week! And that is when I joined AFTRA.
I did a George Burns TV special in Nashville,
and because I was one of the girls on the show, I
joined the union. It was a huge moment, the real
beginning of my professional career.
EF: You went to Indiana University,
transferred to UCLA, studying theater, and
then joined the USO?
KD: Yes, I was part of a four-part harmony group.
A band I had worked with had done a tour with
the USO, so we just went down to the USO and
asked if our group could do something. We ended
up doing a 49-day tour in the Far East. We were
in the DMZ in Korea, in Okinawa and Japan,
and finally Hawaii. It was fantastic and very
EF: I read you were on the road as a backup singer. What was that like?
KD: Yes, I got a job singing backup for Bobby Womack. We opened for the
Temptations, B.B. King, Aretha Franklin and Patti LaBelle. At the Beacon here
in New York, Ron Wood came and played with us. We played with the Stones
in London. Sly Stone was on the road with us for a year. It was a great time. A
real eye-opening time! When I came off the last tour, I wanted to sharpen my
acting chops, but I let my music slip. Once you get into one thing, it really takes
discipline to keep both in top form at the same time.
EF: So, your music led to acting?
KD: Yes, and it flowed so naturally into my work as an actor. My first job in
daytime was on Guiding Light. My character, Chelsea Reardon, was a singer.
My character on One Life To Live for 19 years, Blair Cramer, was also a singer
and owned a club. So it’s all intertwined quite nicely. I’ve put out three CDs. My
fans know I sing. It’s worked out well.
EF: Any special influences?
KD: Well, Kentucky, of course. And church had a big influence on me musically.
Growing up, church was a huge support for me as a singer and as a human being.
I still think some of the best songs are the old gospel songs.
EF: With all of this music in your life, I understand your son was born deaf.
KD: Yeah, a little twist of fate. He was born deaf but not diagnosed until a
year later. It was certainly an emotional challenge. I found out my son had
hearing issues, and I was right in the middle of a contract negotiation. I didn’t
know if I could do it all because my first priority is my son. But once you
deal with the loss and mourn it and get active, it becomes just a part of life.
He has implants now, and you would not know he has hearing issues. He has
beautiful speech. I’m a very proud momma.
EF: How’d you feel about merger?
KD: I think it’s good. With so much being shot
digitally, we need a single voice. It doesn’t matter
what camera you put in front of me. I’m going
to do the same quality of work and I would like
the same quality of protection for my work day.
Just because I’m shooting in Stamford doesn’t
mean I want to work longer than 10 hours or go
without eating. There have to be parameters and
protections. The union has been great about that.
The trick, of course, is to stay ahead of the game,
which is changing by the minute.
EF: During merger, we talked about the
need for an adaptable union. Do you think
the Prospect Park deal for OLTL is a good
example of that?
KD: I think it’s a beginning. We can’t compare
things to what we’ve had because we can’t go
back. We can only go forward. There are solutions
out there to our biggest questions, so let’s be as
positive about it as possible.
EF: And you’ve been quite active, advocating on behalf of the hearing
KD: Yes, I’ve tried to raise awareness of the issue, done congressional
caucuses to advocate for newborn screenings. There is no doubt my son’s
situation has made me a better parent and a better human being.
EF: And now you’re going back to work, with OLTL moving online.
Was the fan base instrumental in getting the show back on?
KD: Absolutely. OLTL always had a very loyal fan base. I know SAG-AFTRA
worked out a deal for this new format. Hats off to Prospect Park, the producer,
for trying, because it’s about jobs. Not just actors but crew, everyone.
EF: We make the same point to legislators when we talk to them about
production incentives.
KD: There are jobs for set-builders and costume designers and stage crew.
And all the money the show spends in the community, from food to flowers.
TV brings in a lot of money to the towns they shoot in.
EF: You’re someone who has always been very well informed about the
business of our business. So I wanted to get your take on where you
think things in TV are headed.
KD: Our deal is a new frontier for entertainment. My feeling is that it’s
definitely the future and it’s great to be on the front line; [it’s] exciting to be
a part of entertainment history. So much change in the way people watch.
Look at Netflix, their new series [House of Cards] released all 13 episodes at
once. We even have a new term: binge watching. People can watch whatever
they want whenever they want, as much as they want.
EF: You have any advice for performers
coming up?
KD: It helps to be at the right place at the right
time. A lot of that is God’s grace. But you have to
be ready, knowing your craft so that, when that
door opens, you can walk through with confidence
and stand tall and show your stuff. That is a
lifelong challenge.
EF: Great advice.
KD: I don’t think my success as an actress is
entirely due to what you see on the TV. It is also
what I bring behind the camera; to the company
I work with, being professional. You can have all
the talent in the world, but if you’re hard to work
with, you might work for a day or week, but inside
a hard-working company, if you don’t play well
with others, you won’t be playing.
EF: That seems like it would apply to the
union, as well.
KD: Yes, it is all about community. Whether
you’re in an ensemble or active in the union.
Some sit back. I like being up on stage and
getting things done, no matter what it is.
— Ed Fry is a SAG-AFTRA National and
New York Local Board member and Co-Chair of the
New York Local Communications Committee.
SAG-AFTRA NY Has First Health Fair
analysis from the Harkness Center
AG-AFTRA members filled the
for Dance Injuries. Information was
Eddie Cantor Boardroom at
also available on a number of topics,
260 Madison Ave. on Monday,
including the AFTRA Health &
Nov. 26 for the first SAG-AFTRA New
Retirement and SAG Pension & Health
York Local Health Fair. The event,
plans, yoga, dental health, podiatry
hosted by the Healthcare Safetynet
and nutrition. All members who
Committee with support from the
attended were offered complimentary
MOVE and MORE committees, was
sandwiches and healthful snacks.
originally scheduled to take place
During the course of the day,
in late October but was rescheduled
information seminars were offered
due to Hurricane Sandy. National
in the Virginia Payne Conference
Healthcare Safetynet Committee CoRoom. Renata Marinaro of The Actors
Chair Cathy Lilly, who spearheaded
Fund presented Getting Affordable
the event said, “It’s exciting to
Healthcare in NYC, Brad Lamm and
have our bigger union. It makes it
Maria Hendrickson of Caron New
possible to create a larger health
National Healthcare Safetynet Committee Co-Chair
York hosted Understanding Drug and
fair and provide a greater array of
Cathy Lilly, center, with MOVE Committee member Peter
Alcohol Addiction, and Adrienne
free resources. Thanks to those who
Kilcommons, left, and MOVE volunteer Stan Krajewski, right
Spags of Pacific College of Oriental
made this possible: the N.Y. Local
Medicine offered Autumn Health and
elected leadership, Manager of
Stress Relief Tips From Oriental Medicine.
Member Outreach Bernadine Goldberg, N.Y. Local Co-1st Vice
President Rebecca Damon and her MOVE and MORE committee
One of the biggest draws was the free flu shots provided by The Actors
volunteers; plus a shout-out to Healthcare Safetynet Committee members
Fund, supported by the SAG Motion Pictures Player Welfare Fund and
Maura Herbert, Bridget Benson, Tom Ligon and Andrew Rogers.”
the AFTRA Foundation. Janet Pearl and Dr. James Spears from the Al
Free services for members included chair massages, reiki sessions,
Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic were on hand to give the shots, which were
BMI and glucose tests, ear seed auricular therapy, and posture and gait
administered in a private room.
More to Celebrate
irst let me say that the merger has been
great for those of us who like to walk.
I’ve gotten plenty of exercise shuttling
between our 260 and 360 Madison locations.
But joking aside, these past 11 months have
been truly rewarding for me in getting to
work with the legacy AFTRA and legacy
SAG staff and members. Their passion
and commitment to the new union and to
organized labor in general is inspiring.
I’m very pleased to announce the
promotions of three New York staff
members. RoseAnn Badamo has assumed
the title of director, administration and
human resources. Noah Marmar and Nancy
Kelly, both former field reps, will be moving
indoors: Noah will be a manager in the
Sound Recordings Department and Nancy
will be a broadcast business representative.
Please join me in congratulating all three!
As for the issue of separate offices, rest
assured that finding a unified office space for
the New York Local is a priority for 2013. In
the meantime, I’m happy to report that 2013
looks on track to be a great year for local
production. We currently have 13 scripted TV
shows in production, and 10 confirmed pilots
are on the way. Our local tax incentives, not
to mention our local talent, continue to attract
major film and television productions.
You can find casting information about all
these local opportunities in the Production
Show Sheet, available at either New York
office, and online. I would like to encourage
all of you to make use of the New York
Local Web page at
ny. You all know it is there, but you may not
know how much information is available to
you. The Local site is updated weekly and
includes a list of upcoming events, a selection
of deals and discounts for SAG-AFTRA
members, and much more. The website is
also a great resource for basic information on
contracts and pay rates. While we are always
happy to answer your questions by phone,
you can save time by visiting the website first
and looking up the information there. If you
don’t find what you’re looking for, then of
course give us a call!
Speaking of deals for SAG-AFTRA
members, beginning March 1, the Museum
of the Moving Image will be offering free
general admission to all SAG-AFTRA
members. Check out the announcement on
page 12 for details.
Finally, the next printed publication you
receive from SAG-AFTRA will probably be
the national magazine. Look for information
about the upcoming election calendar, and
make sure we have your current mailing
address so your ballot can find you! Don’t
forget to notify the AFTRA Health &
Retirement and SAG Pension & Health plans,
as well, of any address changes — they need
to be notified separately.
Hurricane Sandy
Hits Home for
Traffic Reporter
By John Metaxas
12-12-12 The Concert
for Sandy Relief
SAG-AFTRA New York Local and
National Board members Frank Simms
and Elaine Caswell and SAG-AFTRA
member Tawatha Agee performed
with Roger Waters at 12-12-12 The
Concert for Sandy Relief. The concert
raised $50 million for the Robin Hood
Foundation, which will distribute the
money to victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Courtesy Tom Kaminski / WCBS Chopper 880
Tom Kaminski photo: Martin Untrojb
nlike most reporters, Tom Kaminski
keeps a certain distance between
himself and the stories he covers
— literally thousands of feet. But in the 24
years he has flown in the WCBS Newsradio
880 helicopter as the traffic reporter for
the New York all-news station, he says
he’s never covered a story that has hit as
close to home as Hurricane Sandy.
“This, I think, ranks right up there.
Certainly it’s the biggest story I’ve covered
since 9/11,” says Kaminski. As the traffic
reporter, Kaminski says his main job is to get
commuters from point A to point B during the
station’s crucial morning and afternoon drive
times. But when big news breaks, be it 9/11 or
the regionwide blackout in 2003, Kaminski
shifts into his role as a news reporter. His eyein-the-sky vantage point gives his listeners a
unique perspective on the news.
Kaminski’s chopper was grounded for a
day when the storm knocked out power at his
Linden, N.J., airfield. “We literally couldn’t
get the hangar door open,” he says. But when
he finally took off two mornings after the
storm hit, he saw the extent of the devastation.
“Words were thrown around in that cockpit
that we could never repeat on the air,” he says.
“We couldn’t believe it.”
Kaminski and his pilot chose to head straight
down the Jersey shore that morning, where the
storm had first hit land. Passing South Amboy,
he saw that the New Jersey Transit railroad
bridge had been washed out. In Keansburg,
boats from the marina had been tossed into
Jet Star Roller Coaster and Tom Kaminski, inset
the intersection on Shrewsbury Avenue. In
Mantoloking, an entire bridge was washed out,
and a house, lifted from its foundation, was
left deposited at one end of the bridge. And in
Seaside was perhaps the
most compelling image:
The roller coaster was on
its side in the ocean waters.
But it was over Spring
Lake that Kaminski, who
describes himself as a
born-and-bred “Jersey
guy,” says his job became
personal. “I proposed to my wife in the sand
off the boardwalk in Spring Lake under the
streetlight. I flew over it and the boardwalk
was gone, the streetlight was gone.” Kaminski
recounts that as he started to tell the story
live on the air to WCBS morning anchors and
fellow SAG-AFTRA members Pat Carroll and
Michael Wallace, “I started to choke up on the
air. It really hit me, the amount of damage. We
were not prepared to see that.”
Kaminski’s family fared better than many
others in the storm. His home lost power and
his son did not go to school for two weeks,
yet he was in a position
to host relatives whose
homes were uninhabitable.
Kaminski says he feels for
the thousands who saw their
homes destroyed or severely
damaged, and he says New
Jersey has lost something
more: “The shore is not going
to be there as we remember it. As Governor
Christie said, ‘My shore is gone.’”
Kaminski says he appreciates the privilege
he has to tell stories from a point of view most
journalists will never have. But he says the
images of Sandy are “something I hope never
to see again.”
“This, I think, ranks
right up there.
Certainly it’s the
biggest story I’ve
covered since 9/11.”
— John Metaxas is a SAG-AFTRA
New York Local Board member
Staff Retirements
Longtime SAG-AFTRA staff members Ralph Braun
and Jerry Rutkowski said farewell to the union this
winter, announcing their retirements. Ralph was hired
by AFTRA in 1990 and would eventually become
head of the Sound Recordings and Commercials
department in the New York Local. Hired in 1988,
many members will remember Jerry from the
more than 20 years he spent on set as a field
representative. Please join us in wishing both Ralph
and Jerry much luck and happiness in the future.
Richard Ferrone
We’ve come a long way, baby!
Audiobook narrators celebrate the signing of a new contract.
By Richard Ferrone
and Holter Graham
with more than
note, with agreements being approved by the
20 producers and
SAG-AFTRA National Board with Blackstone
publishers, bringing
Audio in Ashland, Ore., and Tantor Media/
Studios in Old Saybrook, Conn. Thanks to
audiobook work to
the miracle of digital technology and the
narrators around
union-guaranteed protections for home-
the country, as well
studio recordings, these agreements — along
as improvements
with many of the others — will create work
in successor
opportunities for members everywhere,
agreements with
including locals with fewer opportunities
Audible and others.
away from the major production centers.
None of this would have been possible
without the New York narrator
The agreement with Tantor came
eginning with the
community’s staunch commitment to
after a completely narrator-driven work
landmark first contract
union coverage and organizing. What
stoppage (supported by both members
with in late 2008,
started in New York has spread with
and nonmembers) went into effect in mid-
great success to other locals as well, in
November, with a willingness to pursue a “no
has continued to organize audiobook work
particular Los Angeles, thanks in large part to
contract, no work” order if necessary. It was
for members nationwide, adding millions
the work of Steve Sidawi, organizing director,
and is an amazing story of member organizing
of dollars in member earnings and Health
Western Region. True patriots have also
that has resulted in a first contract of which
& Retirement contributions. Spearheaded
stepped up in San Francisco; the Twin Cities;
we can all be proud.
by staff members Jane Love, Rich Larkin
Maine; Washington, D.C.; and elsewhere.
and Ralph Braun (recently retired, but
Their grassroots activism and bravery have
deeply valuable to the process), this effort
opened doors for all of us.
has resulted in new SAG-AFTRA contracts
This year started on an incredibly high
HODGE: A significant number of staff from
both legacy organizations decided to take
the severance package that was offered when
merger happened. While we were very sad
to lose them, I do know our current staff is
working very hard to make sure that members
don’t suffer because of it.
The leadership of N.Y. has undertaken a
facilitated process of looking at our new
composition, our mission and local work
opportunities. Care to comment on that
HODGE: It’s been fascinating. With labor
expert Sue Schurman, we have had surprising
discussions, like how structured and specific
legacy SAG had been about things like strictly
— Richard Ferrone is a SAG-AFTRA
National and NewYork Local Board member,
and chair of the National Audiobook Narrators
Steering Committee. Holter Graham is
co-president of the New York Local.
focusing exercise all at once. We started with
SAG-AFTRA’s mission statement. We are
learning and defining our identity as a union:
We protect, provide opportunity and organize
work. Creating jobs is a process we carry in our
hands, and we will do it best together.
personally to lose people. The first months were
a period of understandable uncertainty. But
every month the new structure settles into itself
more, and staff becomes familiar, more like one
efficient family. I think we are all better served
in this new structure.
These achievements help all of us.
Mike Hodge, left, and Holter Graham
running our meetings via Roberts’ Rules. I
understand legacy AFTRA was a little more
relaxed. Many from legacy AFTRA ask, “What
kind of local are we going to be?” I think we’ll
serve our members best by using the SAGAFTRA mission statement as our guide: we will
honor our diverse work categories and members,
as well as protect the same around the world.
GRAHAM: Frankly, it is like therapy and a
Looking forward, what do you consider the
greatest challenge and greatest opportunity
for the union in New York?
HODGE: We continue to evolve. For the
elected, it’s getting everybody on the same
page. For members, especially the background
community, we need to find a way to level the
playing field and create more jobs even though
we have more television jobs here than in the
30-plus years I have been in New York.
GRAHAM: Jobs. We’re artists. We’re
craftspeople. It is our work, our labor. We are
our jobs. And SAG-AFTRA can create jobs,
protect jobs, expand jobs and bring non-union
jobs back into the fold, helping new members
and longtime members alike. It’s a big tent, and
we want to keep everyone inside it as busy as
possible. Jobs. Period.
Martha Greenhouse,
My Mentor and Friend
By Janette Gautier
N.Y. Co-1st Vice President Rebecca Damon and
N.Y. Board member Samantha Mathis reading
to students and answering questions about
what it takes to be an actor in New York.
BookPALS Step Up for
Hurricane Sandy Relief
n December, the SAG Foundation program
BookPALS (Performing Artists for Literacy
in Schools) took its act on the road for a
Hurricane Sandy Relief Holiday Reading at
P.S. 362 in the Far Rockaways, which had just
reopened after damage from Sandy. Several
New York BookPALS, including SAG-AFTRA
New York Co-1st Vice President and SAG
Foundation Board Member Rebecca Damon
and SAG-AFTRA New York Board Member
Samantha Mathis took part in readings of
favorite children’s books, including Click, Clack
Moo: Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin, while
wearing hilarious holiday hats. Damon also
acted as master of ceremonies for the event.
After the performance, the actors distributed
Brooke Packs, backpacks filled with books
and school supplies donated by the Brooke
Jackman Foundation, to the more than 200
students in attendance. The Safe Space Program
facilitated the event with Maria Cabezas,
director of the N.Y. BookPALS program.
“Interacting with the elementary students
at P.S. 362 was inspiring. Even though
Hurricane Sandy did tremendous damage
here, these remarkable kids are on the road to
recovery, thanks in large measure to Principal
Ferguson and their teachers,” remarked
Damon. “The SAG Foundation was proud
to be part of such a wonderful event, and all
the actors felt we were rewarded far beyond
having a welcome opportunity to help.”
“It was so moving to see the gift of
entertainment we were able to bring to
the children in the Far Rockaways,” added
Mathis. “As much as they appreciated the
gifts of backpacks, books and school supplies,
they enjoyed the gift of storytelling.”
For more information about BookPALS,
visit For N.Y. BookPALS
inquiries, email [email protected]
org. For more information on the SAG
Foundation, visit
artha Greenhouse passed away in
for Merger, and she was instrumental in
her home on Jan. 5 at the age of
forming the SAG-AFTRA Joint Committee
91. Everyone who knew Martha loved her
for Merger in the 1980s. Although she was
— and everyone knew Martha! As a new
not well enough to participate in our final
AFTRA member, I met her in the mid 1970s
attempt last March, she proudly voted “yes”
at a union function. She was president of
and had me put the ballot directly in the mail.
the N.Y. Local, and I was surprised and
When the referendum passed, I played the
impressed that she took time to talk to me.
announcement of the historic news for her on
I quickly found out that everyone was equal
my computer. She beamed with delight; she
in Martha’s eyes, and she was genuinely
had lived to see her dream for AFTRA and
interested in encouraging new members to
SAG become a reality.
get involved with the union. Soon I was on
committees and then on the AFTRA N.Y.
For her commitment and dedication,
Local Board. Watching Martha in action was
Martha was presented in 2010 with the
a learning experience: She had boundless
Ken Harvey Award, the highest honor the
energy and enthusiasm, which infused all
AFTRA N.Y. Local had for service to the
areas of her life.
union. Having received the Founder’s Award
and the George Heller Gold Card, Martha
Martha was well-known in New York
remains the only member to have been
theater circles, appearing on Broadway and
awarded all three. On her 90th birthday,
off, and working in almost every TV series
the reception area at 260 Madison Ave. was
produced in New York. With a vibrant acting
named in her honor.
career, she still managed to serve for almost
five decades on the AFTRA local and national
Knowing her wishes, Martha’s family
boards, including five years as president of
asked that any donations in her memory
the N.Y. Local, and president of the George
go to the George Heller Scholarship Fund
Heller Memorial Foundation. She also served
of the AFTRA Foundation. Contributions
on the boards of Screen Actors Guild and
may be sent to the AFTRA Foundation, 260
the N.Y. Chapter of the National Academy of
Madison Avenue, 7th floor, New York, NY
Television Arts & Sciences.
10016 (Martha’s name should appear in the
memo line). Even in death, she will help our
From Martha, I learned what “union”
members. She would love that.
meant. She had a keen sense of social justice
and understood the need for workers’ rights
My life was enriched by knowing Martha
and protections. Having been around during
Greenhouse, as both a mentor and friend.
the blacklist era, she strongly fought against
Truly the kindest human being I know,
all forms of discrimination. Always inclusive,
Martha did not believe in speaking badly
she practiced what she preached, actively
of anyone. She will be remembered with
seeking members of all ages and ethnicities
appreciation and love. As a mentor she
to get involved in running their union.
was invaluable, and as a friend she is
irreplaceable. We can also thank Martha for being an
early merger advocate. In the late 1970s,
Martha headed the N.Y. Caucus of Artists
– Janette Gautier is a SAG-AFTRA National
and New York Local Board member.
Non-Profit Org.
U.S. Postage
New York, NY
Permit No. 9313
260 Madison Avenue, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10016
@ sagaftrany
SAG-AFTRA New York Local
Spring Membership Meeting
Museum of the Moving Image is dedicated to the art, history
and technology of film, television and digital media. It offers
permanent and changing exhibitions as well as educational
programs, interactive experiences, conversations with leading
industry figures, and over 400 screenings each year. Its core
exhibition, Behind the Screen, contains over 1,400 artifacts
dating from the 19th century, and immerses visitors in the creative
process of making moving images. The museum will appeal to
creative professionals, families, fans, and anyone who wants to
learn more about the most influential art form of our time.
A complete description of the museum’s programs and
resources can be found on their website, The
museum is located at 36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria, New York, 11106.
Directions are available on the website.
Any SAG-AFTRA member from any local may take advantage
of this special offer. Admission to screenings and special events is
extra. You must show your current SAG-AFTRA membership card
for admission. Offer good through Feb. 28, 2014.
Monday, April 15, 2013
5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Directors Guild of America
110 West 57th Street
(Between 6th and 7th Avenues)
This meeting is only open to paid-up SAG-AFTRA members in
good standing. Unfortunately, no guests allowed. Parents/guardians
of younger performers under 18 years old are welcome.
No RSVP necessary.
SAG-AFTRA Members, please bring
your membership card for admittance.
(Paid through April 30, 2013)
If you require ADA accommodations, please let us know by
contacting (212) 827-1542 or [email protected]