I’m a brandy-new AFTRA member. As a result, I do not feel completely justified in casting a vote and I haven’t quite decided what to do about that.
I joined AFTRA because I love doing background work & I love the process. But, it seemed that the more interesting BG stuff was going to the union folk and that’s why I became a member (disclaimer: before I joined, there was a naive “Ooh, maybe this will get me past my last SAG waiver if the merger hapens” voice).
However, I’ve spent the past couple days looking through things and I’ve pretty well come to the conclusion that both sides are wrong. I firmly believe that there should be a merger. But, I’m not a big fan of ancient politics influencing the present to the extent it seems to be in several aspects of modern society.
It seems to me that the SAG people are all too willy-nilly giving up a whole lot of stuff. The AFTRA people, I think, are busy feeling like second-rate actors and looking at this as a kind of a cachet. (Folks, these are the impressions I’ve been getting reading forums, FB pages, articles, etc. I mean no offence. Heck, I’m proud to be a member of AFTRA...as proud as I would be to be a member of SAG or, eventually, the joint union). Whatever happens with the merger, I would like AFTRA (despite the fact that I took advantage of it) to rethink their “Give us money & you’re in” policy.
Everybody is busily getting their noses out of joint about the P&H thing. I haven’t gotten my packet yet but, theoretically, there is a P&H feasability study included in it (biased or not). I spent a lot of my youth working in a corporate law firm and I can tell you this...whatever SAG or AFTRA may want in terms of P&H, that stuff is handled by an ENTIRELY different group of people who are not going to commit to anything until the union merger is a lot more sure than it is now. The P&H people coming up with a new plan (IF, indeed, they decide it’s worth it to the people they represent now) is going to make the SAG/AFTRA merger look like tinker toys.
Paying the Union leaders. OH, GOD, NO!!!! The fact that these people do all this work (caveat - I don’t know if they get any kind of reimbursements or not...see: “I’m brandy-new member”) and take the amount of time away from their careers & families without any compensation astonishes me. Running these unions is, I would think, time-consuming and wearing.
But, the thing that worries me most, frankly, is that this is being forced through in such a short time. Possibly, the merger leaders are worried about short attention spans...get it done while people are thinking about it, which I kind of understand. But, it’s been my experience that things undertaken too quickly are usually knee-jerk reactions to situations as perceived than as real and as quick fixes without as much thought as there should be behind them.
I tend to suspect that if I do decide to Vote, that I will vote Yes. But, only because as things stand, there IS a lot of duplication of effort, confusion, and divisiveness.