SAG & AFTRA Reach Agreement on Merger Package for Recommendation to National Boards

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SAG & AFTRA Reach Agreement on Merger Package for Recommendation to National Boards
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Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists Reach Agreement on Merger Package for Recommendation to SAG and AFTRA National Boards of Directors

LOS ANGELES (January 16, 2012) -- The AFTRA and SAG Group for One Union (G1) met for nine days in Los Angeles to continue the process of creating a successor union to SAG and AFTRA. After productive discussions and reaching consensus, a Merger Package was approved by the G1 to send to the respective boards of AFTRA and SAG for approval. The SAG National Board of Directors will meet on Jan. 27 and 28 to review and vote on the package, which includes a Merger Agreement and Constitution. The AFTRA National Board of Directors will meet on Jan. 28 and, if needed, Jan. 29 to review and vote on the package.

Details of the proposed merger package will not be released prior to the AFTRA and SAG board meetings.

“What we have accomplished over the last year is tremendously gratifying. We are confident our members will agree that we have created something we can all be proud of – actors, singers, broadcasters, dancers, voiceover artists, background actors, stuntpersons and all entertainment and media professionals that will be represented by this new union. The consensus process allowed our G1 members to fully discuss, debate and reach agreement on critical provisions that form a strong foundation for a single union that will protect and strengthen the future for all our members,” said SAG National President Ken Howard and AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon.

The G1 began its fifth round of talks on January 7 and concluded January 16.  Meetings were held at the Hollywood Renaissance Hotel and at AFTRA and SAG headquarters Los Angeles.

The SAG and AFTRA merger planning process and G1 meetings were facilitated by Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations Professor Susan J. Schurman and noted labor consultant Peter S. DiCicco using principles of interest-based problem solving and consensus decision making.

Timeline of the One Union Process

April 2010, AFTRA’s top elected leaders published an open letter in AFTRA Magazine about their commitment to creating one media and entertainment union for all performers, recording artists and broadcast professionals.

July 2010, Presidents Howard and Reardon created the “Presidents’ Forum for One Union” to facilitate focused and informal discussions between leaders of the two unions and their members to establish a common vision for a single, new national union.

November 2010, the first meeting of what would become the Listening Tour was conducted in New York City. The Presidents were able to speak directly with members about the benefits of a potential merger. The members were able to hear directly from the Presidents how the unions might approach preparation for a merger effort.

June 17-19, 2011 AFTRA and SAG convened the first formal face-to-face discussions between the SAG Merger Task Force and the AFTRA New Union Committee at the AFL-CIO’s National Labor College in Silver Spring, Maryland.

The two groups formally created the Group for One Union (G1) to facilitate the creation of a successor union to represent all of the members of SAG and AFTRA. The G1 established a series of workgroups to discuss six key areas that rank-and-file members identified as important during the AFTRA and SAG Presidents’ Forum for One Union nationwide Listening Tour. The six workgroups established were:

1. Governance & Structure

2. Finance & Dues

3. Collective Bargaining

4. Pension, Health & Retirement

5. Operations & Staff

6. Member Education & Outreach

Following the initial meeting of the Group for One Union in June, the six G1 workgroups began a series of meetings to develop recommendations to be considered by the full Group for One Union. The workgroups meetings continued through 2011 and resulted in comprehensive proposals reviewed by the G1.

August 27-29 -- The weekend that Hurricane Irene struck the East Coast and New York City, the G1 met by video and teleconference for the second round of talks and received reports back from each of the six G1 workgroups on achievements to date.

Oct. 14 – 18 and Dec. 11 – 12, 2011, and January 7 – 16, 2012, the G1 met in Los Angeles and received status reports from its six workgroups. The workgroups will continue meeting to develop recommendations for consideration by the full G1. These recommendations formed the basis of the merger agreement, constitution and dues structure that each union’s National Board has required for review by January 2012.