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SAG prexy Gordon to run with eye to AFTRA merger

Barry Gordon will run for a third term as president of the Screen Actors Guild, saying he made the decision because there is unfinished work.

“It was not an easy decision,” Gordon told Daily Variety Wednesday.

“It took considerable consultation with various members of the board and a lot of personalintrospection. But I finally decided that there was too much unfinished business to be done.”

High on the list of unfinished business is the proposed merger with the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists, which he said is nearing fruition.

“I think there’s a definite window of opportunity in the coming months for us to get to the point where a plan could be put before the boards of both unions in anticipation of a referendum going out to the membership,” he said.

To date, a small committee of SAG and AFTRA executives has tackled some of the tough issues of how to merge two intrinsically different unions.

“We want to put together a group of joint union trustees to work on fashioning a recommendation for a post-merger pension and health plan,” he said.

Additionally, Gordon said he wants to improve the treatment for performers in the international markets, a relatively new realm for many of Hollywood’s labor guilds.

“The international scene has really become a bigger issue over the last couple of years,” he said. “And we have to address that.”

Other issues high on his platform include health care reforms, specifically related to the ongoing discussions of how a national health care plan will affect Hollywood’s guilds.

Gordon has served two full two-year terms and finished 1 1/2 years of Patty Duke’s presidency. The union’s next election will take place in November.