SAG-AFTRA Summer 2012

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and SAG, have become one. And so SAG- AFTRA was born. SAG members voted close to 82 AT LAST. I n the end, the vote was overwhelming. Aſter decades of discussions and false starts, two great entertainment unions, AFTRA percent in favor of the merger. AFTRA members favored the merger by more than 86 percent, exceeding the 60 percent threshold needed by both unions' membership for passage. The results were announced March 30 in sent a message not only to all your fellow members but, most important, you have sent a message to our employers," Howard said. "You have said, loud and clear, that this is not a fractured group — no, this is a united group. This is the largest, most powerful union in the entertainment and media industries and we are now united in our commitment to improve the wages and working conditions, residuals and Los Angeles to a flurry of media attention. AFTRA and SAG presidents Roberta Reardon and Ken Howard addressed members at the historic occasion. "With this overwhelming vote, you have benefits that our members depend on." "This new union will give us the voice said Ned Vaughn, the executive vice president of the new union. "We have come together all under one roof so we can band together to fight with our employers union banner more than 160,000 actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other media professionals. Their work can be seen and heard in theaters, on television and radio, sound recordings, the Internet, games, mobile devices and home video. "We are undoubtedly stronger now," and presence we will need to protect and strengthen our contracts in existing media, and to establish and grow our presence in emerging areas of work so that we can bring all of these areas under SAG-AFTRA contracts — not just here in Los Angeles and in New York, but in all areas of the country. Finally we are able to speak with one truly unified voice," Reardon said. The merger brings under a single Third Time's the Charm: THE ROAD TO MERGER This year's campaign to merge AFTRA and SAG wasn't the first attempt to bring these two unions together. The idea has been around since the 1930s, but the proposal got serious in October 1998, when the national boards of SAG and AFTRA approved sending a merger referendum to the membership and recommend a "yes" vote. Ballots went out to members in January 1999. Although 67.6 percent of AFTRA membership voted in favor, SAG membership voted it down, with 52.1 percent opposed. 28 SAG-AFTRA | Summer 2012 | The second try came in 2003, when then-AFTRA National President John Connolly and SAG National President Melissa Gilbert led their respective national boards in forging an agreement to consolidate unions. This time, 75 percent of AFTRA TOGETHER. members voted in favor of the plan, and the majority of SAG members supported it as well, but the SAG vote fell 2.2 percent short of the 60-percent threshold for approval. Understanding that the desire to combine unions was still there, and realizing that the changing media landscape of the 21st

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