AFTRA Board Votes To Start SAG Merger Process

The American Federation of Television & Radio Artists national board has resolved to start talking with the Screen Actors Guild by no later than June 30 about merging the two unions in response to the consolidation if the industry.

The resolution also requires the committee to draw up a constitution and work out a dues structure by January 2012.

Spcecifically, the board has voted to create a new committee to work with the SAG Merger Task Force on how that merger can be brought about, as well as a mission statement for the new union, essentially approving a final form of a draft mission statement the board approved April 30.

SAG members have made it clear they want to merge, SAG President Ken Howard said in a statement Saturday. "I'm looking forward to working together to deliver what our members need," he said.

AFTRA's new mission statement for the merged union is reprinted below:

"The Successor Union (TSU) brings together two great American labor unions: Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Both were formed in the turmoil of the 1930s, with histories of fighting for and securing the strongest protections for media artists. Our members united to form TSU in order to preserve those hard-won rights and to continue the struggle to extend and expand those protections into the 21st century and beyond.

"We are actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news directors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voice over artists and other media professionals. Our work is seen and heard in theaters, on television and radio, sound recordings, the internet, games, mobile devices, home video: you see us and hear us on all media distribution platforms. We are the faces and the voices that entertain and inform America and the world.

"TSU is committed to organizing all work done under our jurisdictions; negotiating the best wages, working conditions and health and pension benefits; preserving and expanding members' work opportunities; vigorously enforcing our contracts; and protecting members against unauthorized use of their work.

"A proud member of the AFL-CIO, TSU partners with our fellow unions in the U.S. and internationally to seek the strongest protections for media artists throughout the world. We work with governments at the international, federal, state and local levels to expand protections for American media professionals both at home and abroad.

"It is a core value of TSU that our strength is in our diversity. We are committed to the broadest employment and involvement of our members, regardless of gender, race, age, religious beliefs, disability, nationality and sexual orientation or identification. TSU strives to educate and engage members so that they may be full participants in the workings of their union. We are proud to be a model of inclusion, democratic organization and governance."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.