Los Angeles & New York –- At a joint videoconferencemeeting, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists(AFTRA) and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) national boards of directors,overwhelmingly approved a resolution to adopt a plan to consolidate theunions by a combined vote of 141 to 3. The plan calls for the creationof an umbrella Union and three Affiliates, operating within thatumbrella and dedicated to, respectively, Actors, Broadcasters andRecording Artists.
In a joint statement, John Connolly, AFTRA National President andSAG National President Melissa Gilbert said: “We commend our boards fortheir vision and for recognizing the urgency and sensibility of thisplan. We must also express our appreciation to the AFTRA and SAGcommittees and staffs who worked so hard over the past months tocarefully and thoughtfully construct this plan.”
The document, entitled “Principles of Consolidation andAffiliation,” is the product of several months’ work by the SAGAFTRA Relations Taskforce and AFTRA Strategic Alliances Committee withsenior staff and includes six basic principles: Consolidation,Affiliation, Governance, Administrative Structure, Organizing andBenefit Plan Consolidation.
As part of the resolution, the two national boards direct the jointcommittees, along with staff, to begin the next steps, which includesub-committees drafting a constitution, a business plan, and a plan forimplementation and transition, all to be submitted to the Joint Boardsat a meeting scheduled for April 5, 2003 in Washington, D.C. Upon eachboard’s approval, each union will send referendums for ratification toits members. Both AFTRA and SAG’s Constitution and Bylaws require atleast a 60% majority of votes cast for passage.
The Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) assistedthe two unions in developing the plan. DPE President Paul E. Almeida,who provided guidance and insight culled from other labor union models,applauded the action of the two National Boards. “For workers in thearts, entertainment, and media industries,” Almeida said, “theseprinciples lay the strong foundation to counterbalance continuingemployer consolidation while strengthening performers’professional identities. These pioneering efforts are good for the150,000 workers who belong to these two unions. It’s good forworkers in other entertainment and media unions, to whom this planoffers a model. And it’s good for the millions of Americans whodepend on and enjoy the work of actors, broadcasters, recordingartists, and other media professionals.”
David Cohen, DPE assistant to the president for education andorganizational development, facilitated the discussions that conceivedthe plan. “For both National Boards to adopt this plan,” he said, “is atribute to the extraordinary leadership of SAG President Gilbert andAFTRA President Connolly, the exceptional commitment of the committeemembers representing the two unions, and the hard labor of tworemarkable union staffs. As the two committees propose a constitutionand transition plan to the National Boards, and the Boards to themembers, the thoughtful input of the Board members will provideinvaluable guidance.”
All 69 SAG board members present at the meeting voted in favor ofthe consolidation plan. The 75 votes from the AFTRA board were 72 infavor and 3 against.