LOS ANGELES and NEW YORK (August 29, 2011) - Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists continued formal discussions this weekend between the AFTRA New Union Committee and the SAG Merger Task Force to facilitate the creation of one union to represent all members of Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA.
Meeting together as the Group for One Union, or G1, members and staff of both unions held meetings Saturday through Monday by video and teleconference between New York and Los Angeles. Originally scheduled as face-to-face meetings in New York, members and staff were cautioned not to travel due to the impending landfall of Hurricane Irene in New York and elsewhere along the East Coast. Both unions quickly implemented a contingency plan, however, to ensure the safety of all participants and continue the meetings as scheduled.
The G1, comprised of members including actors, performers, recording artists and broadcast professionals, received a presentation from its Member Education & Outreach Workgroup, and reviewed and discussed findings and recommendations of its Governance & Structure Workgroup. These and four other member-led workgroups have been holding discussions since they were created by the G1 at its inaugural meeting in Silver Spring, MD, June 19 -21.
“If anyone doubted our commitment to merger, what happened this weekend should put those doubts to rest – even a hurricane couldn’t stop us,” said SAG National President Ken Howard. “We covered a lot of ground and I'm so proud of our SAG and AFTRA team. It’s a challenging task, but we’re working extremely well together and I'm more confident than ever that we will get this done for the members."
“We made important progress this weekend,” said AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon. “We examined the myriad strategies, approaches and structures to create a strong, new union that will further empower our members to strengthen their careers and secure their future. I thank everyone involved for their continued solidarity and deeply appreciate their patience and resilience as we worked through the challenges of Hurricane Irene.”
The weekend meetings were facilitated by Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations Professor Susan J. Schurman, and noted labor consultant Peter S. DiCicco. The next meeting of the Group for One Union is scheduled for October 14 – 18 in Los Angeles.
Screen Actors Guild is the nation’s largest labor union representing working actors. Established in 1933, SAG has a rich history in the American labor movement, from standing up to studios to break long-term engagement contracts in the 1940s to fighting for artists’ rights amid the digital revolution sweeping the entertainment industry in the 21st century. With 20 Branches nationwide, SAG represents more than 125,000 actors who work in film and digital motion pictures and television programs, commercials, video games, corporate/educational, Internet and all new media formats. The Guild exists to enhance actors’ working conditions, compensation and benefits and to be a powerful, unified voice on behalf of artists’ rights. SAG is a proud affiliate of the AFL-CIO. Headquartered in Los Angeles, you can visit SAG online at SAG.org.
The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFL-CIO, are the people who entertain and inform America. In 32 Locals across the country, AFTRA members work as actors, broadcasters, singers, dancers, announcers, hosts, comedians, disc jockeys, and other performers across the media industries including television, radio, cable, sound recordings, music videos, commercials, audio books, non-broadcast industrials, interactive games, the Internet and other digital media. The 70,000 professional performers, broadcasters, and recording artists of AFTRA are working together to protect and improve their jobs, lives, and communities in the 21st century. From new art forms to new technology, AFTRA members embrace change in their work and craft to enhance American culture and society. Visit AFTRA online at www.aftra.com.