Silver Spring, Maryland (June 19, 2011) —- Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists convened this weekend for the first, formal face-to-face discussions between the AFTRA New Union Committee and the SAG Merger Task Force at the National Labor College in Silver Spring, Maryland.
The two groups, comprised of members including actors, performers, recording artists and broadcast professionals, met together as the Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA Group for One Union (G1) to facilitate the creation of one successor union to represent all of the members of AFTRA and Screen Actors Guild.
The G1 established a series of work groups to discuss six key areas that rank-and-file members identified as important during the Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA Presidents’ Forum for One Union nationwide Listening Tour. The six workgroups are:
- Governance and Structure
- Finance and Dues
- Collective Bargaining
- Pension, Health and Retirement
- Operations and Staff
- Member Education and Outreach
The work groups will meet throughout 2011, formulate recommendations for how the successor union should address each area and bring those recommendations back to the G1 for approval. These recommendations will inform the G1’s work to create the Merger Agreement, National Constitution and uniform dues structure that each union’s National Board has required for review by January 2012.
In a joint statement, AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon and Screen Actors Guild President Ken Howard praised the unions’ inaugural meeting saying: “We applaud the members and staff of our two unions for their incredible solidarity and vision during this intense and substantive weekend. We know the members of the successor union will be well served by their diligent and hard work during the months to come.”
On Friday, June 17, AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka, joined by Department of Professional Employees President Paul Almeida, welcomed the members and staff of Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA. Trumka addressed the group and praised the unions’ leaderships for their commitment to solidarity and their work on the effort to unite AFTRA and SAG saying, “I encourage you to keep an open mind and base your decision not on any preconceived notions but on this measure alone: what is best for our members, our unions and our future. That’s the big picture we must all keep our eyes on. Whatever your decision the 12 million members of the AFL-CIO will support you.”
The weekend’s 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 full AFTRA and Screen Actors Guild Group for One Union is scheduled for August 27 – 28 in New York City.