Urge to merge

Letter to the editor

To the Editor:

An average SAG and AFTRA member probably won’t see this letter. You don’t usually get the trades, you don’t follow union politics and you are busy struggling to pay the rent, take care of your world, and stay in the chase.

If you’re like me, you are fed up with the barrage of inventions and backpedaling by those inundating you with fear-laden misrepresentations in e-mails and accosting you with in-your-face anger against a SAG and AFTRA consolidation every time you turn around.

You are whom this consolidation is about. For you and I to have a future as actors, our struggling unions must grow. The ability to represent all members from a position of strength is imperative to maintain the effectiveness and credibility of a union. That strength has recently been returning, but the fragmented architecture of our current dual-union balancing act cannot best represent performers in today’s techno-tainment industry anymore.

The fact is, employer consolidation and technology has led to loss of union leverage while the industry economy is moving away from us — the union performer base.

The extreme, loud minority that is opposed to this consolidation doesn’t want you to think about this. They want you to ignore facts and trust rallying cries and emotion in order to maintain a system out of date, out of step, and out of leverage.

I hope you can see this process for exactly what it is. SAG and AFTRA are doing what unions are supposed to: democratic vote, decisions passed on according to the dictates of the system, get all the information to as many members as possible to ensure an informed voting membership. Your leaders are supposed to take something they believe is in the best interests of members and do their utmost to lead the membership in what they trust is the right direction.

I hope you all make the time to take advantage of the informational meetings available in your area to learn, ask, and decide for yourselves based on facts and the realities of the business.

As one union analyst recently said, “The risk of inaction far exceeds the risk of action.”

Jerry Gelb

(The author is a member of SAG and AFTRA.)