Screen Actors Guild, AFTRA continue discussions to create One Union


MUMBAI: Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) continued formal discussions this weekend between the AFTRA New Union Committee and the SAG Merger Task Force to facilitate the creation of one union to represent all members of Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA.

Meeting together as the Group for One Union, or G1, members and staff of both unions held meetings Saturday through Monday by video and teleconference between New York and Los Angeles. Originally scheduled as face-to-face meetings in New York, members and staff were cautioned not to travel due to the impending landfall of Hurricane Irene in New York and elsewhere along the East Coast. Both unions quickly implemented a contingency plan, however, to ensure the safety of all participants and continue the meetings as scheduled.

The G1, comprised members including actors, performers, recording artists and broadcast professionals, received a presentation from its Member Education & Outreach Workgroup, and reviewed and discussed findings and recommendations of its Governance & Structure Workgroup. These and four other member-led workgroups have been holding discussions since they were created by the G1 at its inaugural meeting in Silver Spring, MD, 19 – 21 June.

“If anyone doubted our commitment to merger, what happened this weekend should put those doubts to rest – even a hurricane couldn’t stop us. We covered a lot of ground and I’m so proud of our SAG and AFTRA team. It’s a challenging task, but we’re working extremely well together and I’m more confident than ever that we will get this done for the members,” said SAG national president Ken Howard.

“We made important progress this weekend. We examined the myriad strategies, approaches and structures to create a strong, new union that will further empower our members to strengthen their careers and secure their future. I thank everyone involved for their continued solidarity and deeply appreciate their patience and resilience as we worked through the challenges of Hurricane Irene,” said AFTRA national president Roberta Reardon.

The weekend meetings were facilitated by Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations Professor Susan J. Schurman, and noted labor consultant Peter S. DiCicco. The next meeting of the Group for One Union is scheduled for 14 – 18 October in Los Angeles.