Ballots have been sent out to respective union members of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA). The ballots asked a simple question: should the two unions merge into one?
If you are a member, or you know of one, please mail in your ballots! Whether you are for or against merger, please contribute to the future of our union and our industry. We need voices of labor more than ever in this day and age. In 2003, we did not merge by a mere 1,000 votes.
I am voting yes. We've needed to merge for a long time. We need one voice at the negotiating table, and a unity that responds to the 21st century in our ability to adapt to technologies and new markets.
The media conglomerates have consolidated their holdings across movies, television, cable, radio, sound recordings and new media in all formats. Our employers have already merged: Viacom, News Corp, Sony, TimeWarner, CBS, Comcast, Disney. The big seven are pretty much the only major source of all outlets. One union needs to come to the bargaining table to sit across from them. We should not be competing against each other to make the better deal. This makes no sense.
By merging, this frees up resources to organize! We can turn nonunion work to union. I've done it on the set. Merge will make it easier for us to leverage employment. And, we have flexibility of scale already built into contracts for new film makers and the new emerging media. Merging frees up resources to brand the union as a great union to work with.
As unioins are threatened all over the country, we can be a powerful example of union strength and members who care.