LOS ANGELES AND NEW YORK (July 20, 2010)— Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and Actors’ Equity Association today announced that the International Federation of Actors, also known as FIA (Fédération Internationale des Acteurs), has endorsed the unions’ global I AM PWD campaign.
The tri-union Inclusion in the Arts & Media of People with Disabilities (I AM PWD) campaign is a global outreach and human rights initiative led by people with disabilities to give a voice in entertainment and media to performers and journalists with disabilities who often go unseen and unheard. The resolution achieved the support of the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) as the first international co-sponsor of the campaign, and was approved by the full FIA Executive Meeting at its June 26-27 session in Copenhagen, Denmark.
According to the FIA resolution, “Unions affiliated with FIA are urged to bargain to ensure that performers with disabilities can request reasonable accommodations without the fear of losing their jobs; to free people with disabilities from real and virtual discrimination; and to allow people with disabilities to compete equally for job opportunities without facing bias or exclusionary practices.” (You can read the entire FIA resolution here.)
FIA President Agnete Haaland said, “We live in societies where image has become the ultimate value, where glamour, success and happiness are increasingly stereotyped. By accepting this, we marginalize many of our sisters and brothers and end up living in a very sad and empty Wonderland. Trade unions must be on the forefront of social inclusion and the battle against all discrimination. This is perhaps even truer for those unions that operate in the entertainment business, which plays such an important role in moulding social behaviour and generating role models today. We all have a job to do in making sure that our industry is all-inclusive and non-discriminatory. We commend the U.S. actors unions for their I AM PWD campaign and are proud to stand by them in this inspiring drive for human rights and equality."
SAG President Ken Howard said, “Disability rights are human rights and we are pleased and proud that FIA and our colleagues across the globe have endorsed our I AM PWD effort. This is an important undertaking that is made even more powerful by the recent addition of ACTRA as our first international partner.”
AFTRA President Roberta Reardon observed, "Organized labor has a critical role to play in addressing the challenges and discrimination faced by people with disabilities who have dreams of succeeding in our industries. We deeply appreciate the support of our allies at FIA, and we are extremely pleased to welcome ACTRA members to our now global IAMPWD campaign.”
Equity President Nick Wyman said, “People with disabilities have an enormous contribution to make to our lives and to our understanding of the human condition. We are delighted at FIA's support of our joint effort with SAG and AFTRA to lower and remove the barriers to those contributions, and we welcome our ACTRA brothers and sisters as our first international partner in our IAMPWD campaign.”
Reardon, Howard and AEA 2nd Vice President Rebecca Kim Jordan were joined by ACTRA National President Ferne Downey in sponsoring the resolution to the FIA executive meeting.“ACTRA is proud to step up and stand shoulder to shoulder with our sisters and brothers who have created this vital campaign,” said Downey. We have been fighting for many decades to have our screens reflect the true diversity of society. The IAMPWD campaign is doing tremendous work, and we will take our collective efforts on behalf of the differently-abled to the next level. ”
In remarks delivered to the delegation, Howard said, “Many of you in the audience today represent countries that make up the 140 nations signed to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We hope you will also show your support for performers with disabilities by endorsing our campaign and working with us to broadly expand awareness of performers with disabilities.” (Howard’s complete remarks can be read here.)
Photos and Captions (all photos from left):
ACTRA National President Ferne Downey and Screen Actors Guild President Ken Howard
AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon, Screen Actors Guild Deputy National Executive Director and General Counsel Duncan Crabtree-Ireland and SATED-Ceara President Oscar Roney
Screen Actors Guild President Ken Howard and UK Equity President Malcolm Sinclair
President of Australia’s Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance Patricia Amphlett, Screen Actors Guild President Ken Howard, Screen Actors Guild National Executive Director David White and Screen Actors Guild Senior Advisor John McGuire
Actors' Equity Association ("AEA" or "Equity"), founded in 1913, is the labor union that represents more than 48,000 Actors and Stage Managers in the United States. Equity seeks to advance, promote and foster the art of live theatre as an essential component of our society. Equity negotiates wages and working conditions and provides a wide range of benefits, including health and pension plans, for its members. Actors' Equity is a member of the AFL-CIO, and is affiliated with FIA, an international organization of performing arts unions.
ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) is the national organization of professional performers working in the English-language recorded media in Canada. ACTRA represents the interests of 21,000 members across Canada - the foundation of Canada's highly acclaimed professional performing community.
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, journalists, singers, dancers, announcers, hosts, comedians, disc jockeys, and other performers across the media industries including television, radio, cable, sound recordings, music videos, commercials, audiobooks, 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.
The International Federation of Actors (FIA) is an international non-governmental organization representing performers’ trade unions, guilds and associations around the world. It voices the professional concerns and interests of actors (in film, television, radio, theatre and live performance), broadcast professionals, dancers, singers, variety and circus artists and others, with the exception of musicians and visual artists. FIA is a strictly a-political organization, committed to an equal opportunities policy, regardless of gender, race, color, ethnic/national origin, religious beliefs, sexuality, age or marital status.
About I AM PWD
I AM PWD is a global civil rights campaign seeking equal employment opportunities for people with disabilities throughout the entertainment and news media. I AM PWD was founded by members of Screen Actors Guild, AFTRA and Actors’ Equity Association to bring media and public attention to the issues of media access, inclusion and accuracy for people with disabilities. You can visit I AM PWD online at IAMPWD.org.
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, 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.