Ex-AFTRA President to Merger Opponents: 'Message F---in' Delivered'
The vote in Hollywood, home of anti-merger efforts, is a surprising 78 percent in favor.
Like all of the union officials in front of the cameras and in the audience at Friday's press conference announcing the merger of SAG and AFTRA, John Connolly was overjoyed at the result. But it perhaps held especially poignant meaning for him, since Connolly was the president of AFTRA in 2003, when the previous merger attempt failed. Then, the AFTRA vote exceeded the required 60 percent, but SAG fell 2 percent shy; 640 votes would have swung the balloting.
This time was different. AFTRA voted 86 percent in favor, and SAG voted a stunning 82 percent, with a high turnout (53 percent) that was virtually identical to 2003's.
That 82 percent is "a major 2-by-4 across the mule's head," Connolly told The Hollywood Reporter, referring to merger opponents who have repeatedly sued their own union to block merger efforts.
"Message f---in' delivered," he added.
And although Connolly didn't mention it, and the number hasn't been reported, THR has learned that the vote among SAG's Hollywood Division -- previously the stronghold of anti-merger forces -- was 78 percent in favor of merger. A SAG spokeswoman declined comment, but it seems that even in Hollywood, the SAG membership was ready to join forces in a single union, SAG-AFTRA.
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