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AFTRA and SAG Union’s going forward with merging

02.12.12

FEBRUARY 2012, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

AFTRA and SAG Union’s going forward with merging

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, January 20th- The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) International Union’s have reached a consensus on merging the two entertainment labor organizations.

Officials for the two union’s met for nine days in Los Angles in January and a Merger Package was approved and will now be sent to the respective boards of AFTRA and SAG for approval.

Details of the proposed merger package will not be released prior to the AFTRA and SAG board meetings. AFTRA board members willmeet on January 27th and if needed January 28th. Both labor organizations are headquartered in Los Angeles, California.

Both union’s are affiliated with the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington, DC.

“What we have accomplished over the last year is tremendously gratifying. We are confident our members will agree that we have created something we can all be proud of, actors, singers, broadcasters, dancers, voiceover artists, background actors, stuntpersons and all entertainment and media professionals that will be represented by this new union,” SAG National President Ken Howard stated.

“The consensus process allowed our G1 (Group for One Union), members to fully discuss, debate and reach agreement on critical provisions that form a strong foundation for a single union that will protect and strengthen the future for all our members,” Mr. Howard added.

The Screen Actors Guild is the nation’s largest labor union representing working actors. Established in 1933, SAG has stood up to studios to break long-term engagement contracts in the 1940’s to fighting for actists’ rights amid the digital revolution sweeping the entertainment industry.

SAG has 20 Branches nationwide, and represents more than 125,000 actors who work in film and didital motion pictures and television programs, commercials, video games, industries, internet and new media formats.

AFTRA has 32 Local Union’s across the nation representing 70,000 professional performers. Their members work as actors, broadcasters, singers, dancers, announcers, hosts, comedians, disc jockeys, and other performers across the media industries including television, radio, cable, sound recordings, music videos, commercials, audio books, non-broadcast industries, interactive games, the internet and other digital media.

Study shows long-term unemployment substantially higher than official level

02.12.12

FEBRUARY 2012, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Study shows long-term unemployment substantially higher than official level

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, January 20th- According to a new study released by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a nonpartisan economic think tank in Washington DC, the Great Recession pushed the share of the long-term unemployed (defined as being unemployed more than six months) to over 40 percent throughout 2010 and 2011. The new report shows that this standard measure estimate understates the extent of long-term hardship in the United States labor market.

According to the Department of Labor and Industry (DOL), the national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was reported to be 8.6 percent, decreasing by four-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. However, the number did not include the long-term unemployed because workers that have exhausted their unemployment benefits, are no longer counted as unemployed unless they continue to apply for work.

“Long-term unemployment rates have been at unprecedental levels for two years now, but the full group facing long-term hardship in the labor market is likely to be at least twice as high as the official figure,” stated John Schimitt, co-author of the report and a senior economist as the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

The report, “Down and Out: Measuring Long-Term Hardship in the Labor Market,” proposes a broader definition of long-term unemployment that encompasses the underemployed, (workers that have lost their full-time job and are now only able to find part-time work) and those workers experiencing long-term hardship in the labor market, Mr. Schimitt added.

He continued that the report expands on the official concept of unemployment by including data on discouraged workers, those not in the labor force who want a job but have stopped looking because they believe there are no jobs available; marginally attached workers, those who want a job and have looked in the last 4 weeks; and workers who are part-time for economic reasons, those who want a full time job only have part-time work. Together with the unemployed, these groups are the basis for an alternative Bureau of Labor Statistics’ measure of unemployment, known as U-6, which the authors of the report argue gives a more complete picture of long-term hardship.

While the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not track the length of time workers have fallen under these categories, the authors stated it demonstrates that under reasonable assumptions, the share of workers facing long-term hardship may be twice as high as the share that is long-term unemployed by the standard measure.

“Under these same assumptions, between 2007 and 2010 long-term unemployment increased almost as much in these unofficial channels as it did under the more narrow definition,” added Mr. Schimitt.