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AFTRA to Meet in Seattle

SAG merger update likely to be among topics of discussion

AFTRA, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, holds its biennial convention in Seattle this week.

Among likely topics are the ongoing discussions with the Screen Actors Guild about a possible merger. Committees are working this year on a draft merger agreement and national constitution that each union’s boards will review by January.

Formally on the agenda is election of new national officers: president, first vice president, second vice president, treasurer, recording secretary and seven “unnumbered” vice presidents. There also will be resolutions to be voted on, state of the union reports from President Roberta Reardon, National Treasurer Matthew Kimbrough and National Executive Director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth and other biz.

Hedgpeth said in a release: “Technology is changing how, and indeed, if professional union performers and broadcasters can sustain their careers. As union members increasingly come under attack from corporations who are solely interested in their bottom line, the AFTRA convention is a powerful organizing opportunity and a vivid example of how AFTRA members’ diversity gives them collective strength for the future.”

Speakers at the convention will include actress Jean Smart, actor and Screen Actors Guild President Ken Howard and Rep. Jim McDermott.