In the effort to help support military families across the country, First Lady Michelle Obama has joined forces with Dr. Jill Biden to create the Joining Forces initiative.
The program aims to bring attention to the needs of military families, educate and motivate the public to ensure these families have the support they have earned, and expand employment opportunities for them and their spouses. To do this, they want to “mobilize all sectors of society,” and have come calling to Hollywood.
Using a first-of-its-kind interguild task force including Local 399, the DGA, WGA, SAG and PGA, three public service announcements were recently filmed to support the initiative. Featuring Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and Oprah Winfrey, the PSAs were specifically designed to mobilize Americans to show their thanks to family members of servicemen and women.
“This was a great opportunity for some of our members to help out a very important cause,” said Business Agent Steve Dayan. “Sometimes Americans might forget that the families of soldiers have a difficult time while the husband or wife is stationed away from home. It is great to see the Hollywood community lend its support to Joining Forces.”
Local 399 members Royale Edward and Brett George volunteered their time to work on the shoots and had a rewarding experience working with members of the US Marine Corps.
“When I heard about the chance to work on these PSAs I jumped at the opportunity,” explained Edward, a 15-year veteran driver. “Being able to give something back to the troops and their families gives me a great feeling.”
Secretary-Treasurer Leo Reed was proud of the Local 399 members who participated, and urged other members to look for similar events in the future. “The Teamsters Union has a long tradition of its members supporting the military,” Reed stated. “To have members from the major Hollywood unions donate their time to help film these ads is a testament to the labor movement’s continued support of our men and women in uniform.”