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AFTRA Calls for 'One Media and Entertainment Union'

0406 reardon In an open letter, five top elected leaders of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists have spelled out their vision for a "new and stronger national union" for performers. The letter, included in AFTRA's official publication mailed to members today, identifies merger with the Screen Actors Guild as "not a goal," but rather, "a means to a goal." It then lays out a broad vision for "creating one media and entertainment union for all actors, performers and broadcast journalists"—a vision that appears to encompass more than just AFTRA and SAG members. The letter—signed by AFTRA president Roberta Reardon and four other officials—acknowledges past failures to merge with SAG (the most recent attempt having been in 2003), but clearly supports a merger, saying, "Our members cannot afford for us to fail. The third time must be the charm."

UPDATE: SAG national president Ken Howard has responded: "I’m delighted to see AFTRA’s leadership speak out forcefully about something that I and other SAG leaders so strongly support. Joining SAG and AFTRA to create a single union is essential to performers maximizing their power. It’s undoubtedly an idea whose time has come.”

SAG New York president Mike Hodge: "I'm excited to see this. The New York leadership has always  believed that SAG and AFTRA need to come together to build more power  for our members. It's awfully encouraging to see this kind of direct talk and I look forward to more."

Pictured: Roberta Reardon (Photo: Getty Images)

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