Noted constitutional expert Floyd Abrams today wrote the Senate Judiciary Committee and firmly declared that there is no First Amendment right to steal creative content and distribute it on the Internet through rogue websites.
Los Angeles (May 26, 2011) – American Federation of Musicians (AFM), American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), Directors Guild of America (DGA), International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada (IATSE), International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) today released the following statement:
Hopefully by now, we all know that the work done by unions is valuable to all workers. Ever since Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin started his effort to strip public sector workers of certain bargaining rights, I have been paying close attention.
The process of unifying SAG and AFTRA into a new successor union continues to significantly move forward. The recent actions by the SAG and AFTRA National Boards to mount a collaborative effort to create an institution dedicated to protecting the interests of all media workers bring us closer to realizing the vision many members have tenaciously embraced for decades. Stay tuned as a structure is developed over the coming months and more details become available. We are finally, finally, seeing the light at the end of a very long tunnel.
As I talk with members about SAG and AFTRA becoming one union, a question I hear frequently is, “What’s going to happen to my benefits if we merge?”
Here’s an important fact: If you’ve earned a SAG pension, an AFTRA pension, or both, those benefits are protected by federal law and will not change if SAG and AFTRA merge. Whether it’s the vested pension you’re expecting in the future, or retirement benefits you’re already drawing, you will receive the money you’re counting on. It’s that simple.
These are dynamic times for Screen Actors Guild, with elected leaders and staff looking at what the organization does with a fresh eye. “Because we’ve always done it that way” isn’t a good enough reason anymore; instead, we’re examining how SAG addresses today’s realities, and asking ourselves if creativity and technology offer us a better way to use the resources that we have to benefit our members.
The most exciting news I’ve been able to share as SAG president can be found on page 12, in the story "SAG, AFTRA Boards Vote to Move Forward with Merger." The SAG National Board voted unanimously to create a Merger Task Force, and both unions’ boards directed that a formal merger plan be completed by January 2012. If the boards approve the plan, the members of SAG and AFTRA could vote to merge our unions as early as next spring.