AFTRA Convention Re-Elects John P. Connolly National President
Passes Two Resolutions in Support of Journalists’ Rights
Los Angeles, CA, July 17, 2005 – The 60th Convention of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) last night re-elected Los Angeles actor John P. Connolly to his third two-year term as the union’s National President. Actor Marvin Kaplan (Los Angeles) was also a candidate for President.
The Convention called for enactment of an "effective and meaningful Federal Shield Law" to protect journalists from being required to divulge sources to whom confidentiality has been promised. The resolution also saluted the "courage and resolve" of reporter Judith Miller and The New York Times, and called for Ms. Miller’s immediate release from prison.
Another resolution unanimously resolved that AFTRA "deplores the decision and action of Time magazine in caving in to pressure to reveal confidential sources, and urges media owners and journalists nationwide not to follow Time’s example."
In addition to Mr. Connolly, 11 National officers were elected to two-year terms. Washington broadcaster Bob Edwards was re-elected National First Vice President. Roberta Reardon (New York) was re-elected National Second Vice President. Other officers elected are: Vice Presidents: Ron Morgan (Los Angeles), Lainie Cooke (New York), Shelby Scott, former National President (Boston), Belva Davis (San Francisco), Dave Corey (Miami), Dick Kay (Chicago), David Hartley-Margolin (Denver). Matt Kimbrough (Los Angeles) fills the post of Recording Secretary. Mitchell McGuire (New York) was re-elected Treasurer.
Acknowledging his re-election, President Connolly said, "I am most grateful to be re-elected. I will do my best to maintain the trust that you have placed in me."
AFTRA’s National Executive Director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth brought the delegates to their feet with a wide-ranging report, her first to an AFTRA Convention since becoming the union’s chief executive. "The work in each AFTRA Local affects every Local in the nation, and the work of your National union affects all members locally," Ms. Hedgpeth said. "This Convention is about AFTRA’s future… As the new world of high definition radio emerges…we must be resolute in maintaining the principle with employers that this work is under AFTRA’s jurisdiction… As business models in the recording industry change, and more recording artists find themselves working with independent labels or through performer-owned labels, AFTRA must find a place within its structure to embrace the needs of this new breed of artist, just as we have for the artists who are employed under traditional models with the major labels," Ms. Hedgpeth said.
"We must not forget that we are living in an anti-union environment in which those who choose to be our adversaries grow bolder by the minute," Ms. Hedgpeth declared. "For example, who would have thought that in this day and age, a company of the stature of NBC/Telemundo, in its effort to deprive performers of their legitimate right to organize, would sink to the depths of subjecting Spanish-language actors in Miami to intimidation tactics, like captive audience meetings, that belong in a less enlightened era of the past? But if employers like NBC/Telemundo want to turn back the clock by engaging in such behavior, they would do well to remember that they are not the only folks around who know how to get old school." This statement brought the delegates to their feet with a standing ovation.
"While we may have to take a beat to re-think, re-assess, re-tool, re-allocate, re-direct, and reconfigure, one thing we are not going to do is retreat," Ms. Hedgpeth stated.
AFTRA highest honor, the George Heller Memorial Gold Card, bestowed on "those who have made a significant contribution to AFTRA and its members," was awarded to Tom Powers who, for 34 years, has served as General Counsel of AFTRA’s Washington/Baltimore Local, in which capacity he has been a leading negotiator for every major Local contract.
Also receiving Gold Cards were Dan Ingram and Maureen Donnelly. Mr. Ingram, one of the country’s leading disc jockeys, has served AFTRA as both a National Board member and Vice President of its New York Local for many years.
Maureen Donnelly has been a vigorous and articulate member of AFTRA’s National Board since 1984. She also answers to the name of Mrs. Dan Ingram.
Boston broadcaster John Henning, and Chicago broadcaster Dick Kay, both of whom are past Gold Card recipients, made the presentations.
The Convention was dedicated to the late Frank Maxwell, former AFTRA National President and Trustee of the AFTRA Health & Retirement Funds, who died last year.
The Convention adjourned in the early hours of Sunday morning (July 17, 2005).
The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists – affiliated with the AFL-CIO – is a diverse national union representing over 70,000 professional performers, broadcasters, and recording artists in 32 Locals throughout the country. AFTRA members work as actors, broadcast journalists, dancers, singers, announcers, hosts, comedians, and disc jockeys in aspects of the media industries including television and radio, sound recordings, commercials, non-broadcast/industrials, interactive games, and the Internet. For more information, visit AFTRA online at