Silver Spring, Maryland (June 19, 2011) ---- Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists convened this weekend for the first, formal face-to-face discussions between the AFTRA New Union Committee and the SAG Merger Task Force at the National Labor College in Silver Spring, Maryland.
The two groups, comprised of members including actors, performers, recording artists and broadcast professionals, met together as the Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA Group for One Union (G1) to facilitate the creation of one successor union to represent all of the members of AFTRA and Screen Actors Guild.
The G1 established a series of work groups to discuss six key areas that rank-and-file members identified as important during the Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA Presidents’ Forum for One Union nationwide Listening Tour. The six workgroups are:
- Governance and Structure
- Finance and Dues
- Collective Bargaining
- Pension, Health and Retirement
- Operations and Staff
- Member Education and Outreach
The work groups will meet throughout 2011, formulate recommendations for how the successor union should address each area and bring those recommendations back to the G1 for approval. These recommendations will inform the G1’s work to create the Merger Agreement, National Constitution and uniform dues structure that each union’s National Board has required for review by January 2012.
In a joint statement, AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon and Screen Actors Guild President Ken Howard praised the unions’ inaugural meeting saying: “We applaud the members and staff of our two unions for their incredible solidarity and vision during this intense and substantive weekend. We know the members of the successor union will be well served by their diligent and hard work during the months to come.”
On Friday, June 17, AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka, joined by Department of Professional Employees President Paul Almeida, welcomed the members and staff of Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA. Trumka addressed the group and praised the unions’ leaderships for their commitment to solidarity and their work on the effort to unite AFTRA and SAG saying, “I encourage you to keep an open mind and base your decision not on any preconceived notions but on this measure alone: what is best for our members, our unions and our future. That’s the big picture we must all keep our eyes on. Whatever your decision the 12 million members of the AFL-CIO will support you.”
The weekend’s 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 full AFTRA and Screen Actors Guild Group for One Union is scheduled for August 27 – 28 in New York City.
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 over 125,000 actors who work in film and digital motion pictures and television programs, commercials, video games, industrials, 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.