The National Board of Directors of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) overwhelmingly passed a resolution formally authorizing AFTRA leadership to continue working with Screen Actors Guild (SAG) on efforts to merge the two unions.
Specifically, the board gave its approval for the first time to “the Presidents’ Forum for One Union” and its “Listening Tour” taking place between now and the board’s next regular meeting on May 14.
The resolution instructs the AFTRA members of the Presidents’ Forum to continue the “Listening Tour” in the major AFTRA Locals – which include Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Chicago and Washington/Baltimore – and in as many of the other Locals as possible between now and the next Board meeting. It also directs the Presidents’ Forum members and AFTRA’s National Strategy Cabinet – a committee of members representing professional performers, broadcasters and recording artists and tasked with making strategic recommendations to the President – to present their findings to the Board at its meeting on May 14 and make recommendations about next steps in the process, including whether or not to create a committee to engage in formal discussions with SAG to bring the unions’ memberships together into a new, successor union for the 21st century.
AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon praised the Board’s action saying: “I applaud the leadership of the AFTRA National Board and the hard work of AFTRA members which, together, have brought this union to where we are today. Our world of work is very different than it was the last time we tried to bring our unions together, so any new, successor union we hope to create must also be different, and to do that successfully, we must be guided by a clear vision for the future. As we continue and advance this ambitious project in partnership with the Screen Actors Guild, I urge all AFTRA members – performers, recording artists and broadcasters – to imagine not just how good, but how much better we can be together.”
Here is the full text of the resolution:
Resolution to Facilitate Creation of One New Successor Union
WHEREAS, the overwhelming majority of AFTRA’s past and present elected leadership and AFTRA’s general membership have long supported the concept of combining AFTRA and the Screen Actors Guild into a new successor union; and
WHEREAS, in both 1998 and in 2003, AFTRA’s Local and National elected leadership and AFTRA’s general membership successfully delivered a resounding “yes” vote in separate referenda on the question of combining AFTRA and SAG into a new successor union; and
WHEREAS, AFTRA’s current elected leadership is encouraged by the renewed interest expressed by SAG’s current leadership in bringing AFTRA and SAG together into a new successor union; and
WHEREAS, past attempts to bring AFTRA and SAG together, including those in 1998 and 2003, were predicated on 20th century viewpoints and the 20th century world of work of the unions’ memberships; and
WHEREAS, the work done during those past attempts, while laudable and appropriate for their times, is no longer relevant to 21st century technology, 21st century employment patterns and the media and entertainment industries of the 21st century; and
WHEREAS, the Presidents’ Forum for One Union, established informally in 2010, has begun a process of meeting with representative and diverse focus groups of members to hear directly about the issues, concerns, challenges, opportunities, points of view and working realities of 21st century members in order to understand and identify the vision, strategy and goals that a 21st century union should pursue; and
WHEREAS, this “Listening Tour” process is a visionary improvement over past processes, and acknowledges that defining the strategies and goals relevant to members in the 21st century is a mandatory first step before any concrete plans to build a structure for a new successor union are developed;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT:
The National Board of AFTRA applauds and endorses the work of the Presidents’ Forum to engage in this “Listening Tour” process; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Board of AFTRA authorizes and directs the AFTRA appointees of the Presidents Forum to continue this “Listening Tour” process with their counterparts from SAG, between now and the next scheduled meeting of the AFTRA National Board; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Board of AFTRA further directs that the continuation of this process must include a “Listening Tour” session in every Major Local of AFTRA, and as many of AFTRA’s Field Locals as scheduling practicalities permit, prior to the next meeting of the AFTRA National Board; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the AFTRA appointees to the Presidents’ Forum are directed to report their findings and recommendations to the AFTRA Strategy Cabinet; with the further direction that the AFTRA Strategy Cabinet shall make a recommendation to the AFTRA National Board based on input from the AFTRA appointees to the Presidents’ Forum, at the Board’s next regular meeting; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that at the next regular meeting of the AFTRA National Board, the findings and recommendations from the Presidents’ Forum and the AFTRA Strategy Cabinet shall include their conclusions and recommendations on whether, and in what form, the AFTRA National Board should establish a committee to engage in formal discussions with a corresponding authorized committee of SAG, if any, to bring AFTRA and SAG together as a new, successor union for the 21st century.