SAG factions find common ground

Advocacy video supports Employee Free Choice Act

For actors, nothing brings out the positive vibes quite like being invited on camera.

A new advocacy video made by SAG and other union friends under the rubric Artists4WorkersChoice has accomplished something rare in the current toxic labor atmosphere: agreement between MembershipFirst and Unite for Strength.

The video (embedded below), which advocates for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, includes participation from members of SAG, AFL-CIO, Actors' Equity Assn., the American Federation of Musicians, AFTRA, DGA, IATSE and WGA.

But most surprisingly, it juxtaposes some of the most vocal personalities of both sides of SAG's AFTRA-merger debate and TV-theatrical contract divide -- MF's Alan Rosenberg and Anne-Marie Johnson and MF critics Sam Freed and Amy Brenneman -- expressing the same message: "We need a change."

The change in question is built into the EFCA, pending legislation that was reintroduced into the Senate and the House in March. The bill would amend the National Labor Relations Act to remove some obstacles to workers' efforts to organize or join a union and thus bargain for fair wages and benefits.

In the video, James Cromwell, Elliott Gould, Gabrielle Carteris, Jerry Stiller, Roberta Reardon, Mike Farrell, Esai Morales, F. Murray Abraham and Richard Masur, among other actors, writers and musicians, define the EFCA fight as a communal "workers' issue." They urge fellow workers to support the cause by contacting senators and representatives in Congress to encourage them to pass the bill.

But the video also provides such odd sights as Farrell's image jumping to Rosenberg's, and Johnson, who is suing her union, putting extra feeling into her appeal for "uniting with our co-workers."

"The members of all our unions are standing together to support the Employee Free Choice Act because we know that if workers don't have the freedom to bargain, it affects all of us -- our livelihoods, our rights as professionals and our strength to create an economy that works for all," said the presidents of all the participating unions in a statement.