SAG-AFTRA co-president receives Distinguished Service Award

The New York City Central Labor Council has honored SAG-AFTRA co-president Roberta Reardon with its Distinguished Service Award in recognition for her work as former AFTRA national president and on the SAG-AFTRA merger campaign.

The award was presented Tuesday in ceremonies at the W New York Hotel. Denis M. Hughes, past president of the New York State AFL-CIO, and Bhairavi Desai, exec director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance were also honored.

Reardon was elected to three two-year terms as AFTRA president starting in 2007. She serves on the executive boards of the New York State Federation of the AFL-CIO and the Union Leadership Institute of Cornell University and is a trustee of the AFTRA Health and Retirement Fund and The Actors’ Fund.

Reardon and her SAG counterpart Ken Howard campaigned avidly from the merger, which went into effect March 30 as members of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and Screen Actors Guild endorsed the combo with 86% and 82% backing, respectively. Merger backers touted the combined SAG-AFTRA as a logical response to the trend of consolidation among entertainment conglomerates, along with pushing for the merger as a first step toward solving the problem of performers not qualifying for coverage under separate SAG and AFTRA health and pension plans.

“I am proud of the work I did as AFTRA national president and the path our members created to merge with Screen Actors Guild,” Reardon said. “It is an honor that the historic work we have done in SAG-AFTRA has been recognized here in the greatest labor city in the country, New York.”

Nick Wyman, president of Actors’ Equity, presented Reardon with the award. The Actors Equity Council endorsed the merger in February, becoming the first to do so.

“No one is more deserving of this honor tonight than my trusted colleague, fellow union president and good friend, Roberta Reardon,” he said Tuesday.

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