Unions continue progress toward merger
Leaders of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists have taken another step toward combining the performers unions.The unions announced Wednesday that reps of the SAG-AFTRA Presidents’ Forum for One Union met last weekend in New York City, resulting in “meaningful progress toward the goal of uniting SAG and AFTRA.” No date has been set yet for a merger vote, which would create an org of about 150,000 members. SAG members voted down merger in 1999 and 2003 amid arguments that SAG would lose its unique identity as an actors union. Merger proponents have asserted that a combined union would have greater clout. The reps of both unions unanimously approved draft resolutions for consideration by the unions’ respective national boards. “The recommendations include a draft mission statement for the successor union and the appointment of formal groups to work on a proposed meeting schedule to develop a merger plan,” the statement said. The recommendations will be presented to the SAG national board at its meeting April 30 and May and to the AFTRA national board May 14. The unions said the “listening tour” meetings conducted by the leaders in recent months have seen members express “overwhelming” support for the creation of a unified national union. Meetings in Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., have also been set. “Each step we take together brings us closer to our crucial goal of becoming one union, and last weekend’s meeting was no exception,” said SAG prexy Ken Howard. AFTRA President Roberta Reardon said in a statement, “I am very proud of the strong partnership and clear vision that AFTRA and SAG members are forging together through this process. We have come a very long way in a short period of time, and I applaud each and every member who has participated in this exciting and important endeavor.”
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