HARRISBURG, PA (May 5, 2014) --- Rep. Tom Murt and the Pennsylvania Assembly will declare May “SAG-AFTRA Month” in the state. SAG-AFTRA is the largest union of television and film actors, radio and television broadcasters, stunt professionals, singers, sound recording artists and dancers in the country, with close to 3,000 members in Pennsylvania.
“We’re honored to be recognized in this way, but it’s even more exciting for all of these broadcasters and actors in our state to know that their contributions are also being recognized,” said SAG-AFTRA National Board Member Helen McNutt, a member from Doylestown, Penn. “I am a working actor and a union advocate, so for me this is personally thrilling.”
“This recognition is testament to the fact that whether it’s education, health care or entertainment: people united accomplish so much more than can be accomplished by any one individual,” said SAG-AFTRA Philadelphia Local Executive Director Stephen Leshinski.
“It is a great honor to have the union and our members recognized for their contributions to the entertainment and media industry throughout the state of Pennsylvania,” said SAG-AFTRA Ohio-Pittsburgh Local Executive Director Brian Lysell.
On Tuesday, May 6, Rep. Murt will hold a press conference at 10:30 a.m. in the Capitol Media Center to discussed House Resolution 691, which will commemorate May as SAG-AFTRA Month. Murt will also discuss the union’s contributions to the state.
Several SAG-AFTRA members and leaders, as well as executives, will join Murt at the state capitol to help kick off SAG-AFTRA month.
SAG-AFTRA is the two-year-old merged union of the former Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, each with close to 80 years of advocacy in the state. Pennsylvania actors David Morse (Treme; The Hurt Locker) and Melissa Fitzgerald (The West Wing; Frequency), who is also senior director at Justice for Veterans, will be on-hand Tuesday to accept the commendation in the House Chamber that morning, as well as SAG-AFTRA National Vice President, Broadcasters Catherine Brown, SAG-AFTRA National Board members Helen McNutt and Mark Roberts, SAG-AFTRA Philadelphia Local President John Wooten, executives Leshinski and Lysell and Kerri Wood Einertson of SAG-AFTRA's Government Affairs and Public Policy department.
“I want to thank SAG-AFTRA for working with me to create more stringent protections for child performers who work in the entertainment industry, after witnessing the treatment of the children who appeared on the non-union reality television show, Jon & Kate Plus 8,” Murt said. “My initial legislation, House Bill 1548, evolved into a comprehensive rewrite of Pennsylvania’s child labor laws, which had not been updated in decades.”