AFTRA Board Approves Sweeping Overhaul of Union’s Structure

New York, N.Y. July 10, 2004 - Acting on recommendations by a select committee of National Officers, key committee chairs and National and Local staffs, the AFTRA National Board, meeting in full plenary session at the Sheraton New York Hotel today, initiated a sweeping restructuring of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

“The AFTRA National Board has acted decisively and responsibly to make sure that AFTRA will have the resources necessary to properly serve its members and expand their employment opportunities,” said AFTRA National President John Connolly. “We no longer have the luxury of time to strengthen our union’s finances.  The Board has wisely and courageously recognized that there were no easy options and no quick fixes,” Connolly said. 

The Board took the following actions:

          *Endorsed the preliminary recommendation to move AFTRA’s National headquarters from Manhattan to Los Angeles and instructed the National Executive Director and
            the union’s Finance Committee to present a report and analysis covering the financial, strategic and organizational implications of that proposed relocation to the 2005
            National Board Summer plenary and to the 2005 Convention

          *Adopted a National staff structure, giving the National Executive Director full authority over the union’s National and Local staff.  Previously, employees of AFTRA’s major
            locals operated under separate staff structures accountable only to their Local Boards

          *Reduced its National Board from 113 to 75 members, and instructed the National Executive Director and a member committee to prepare a report containing various
            formulae for achieving the smaller size while protecting geographical representation.  Reduction in the Board’s size is subject to final approval by the 2005 Convention

          *Modified the number of regularly scheduled National Board meetings to three per fiscal year, instead of the present four

          *Decided, effective approximately May 1, 2005, to close the San Diego Local Office and retain one office in Texas (location to be determined), rather than the present two

          *Instructed the Finance Committee to examine adding a cost of living increase to the existing dues structure.  Any such increase would be subject to approval by the 2005

          *Instituted reductions in both Convention delegate expenses and staff benefits, with the understanding that if AFTRA’s financial condition permits, the National Board will
            consider the feasibility of reinstating both after the restructuring transition period

“By making these difficult decisions, the National Board has taken the necessary steps to ensure that AFTRA will have the resources and capacity to vigorously represent our members in a rapidly changing environment,” said National Executive Director Greg Hessinger. “These initiatives will reduce expenditures, increase revenues and create an effective national structure that is both financially sound and able to anticipate and confront the challenges of the future.”

AFTRA the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists - affiliated with the AFL-CIO -- is a diverse union representing nearly 80,000 professionals nationwide who work in news and entertainment programming on television and radio as well as in the sound recording industry, commercials and industrial work, and new technologies such as interactive programming and CD ROMs.

Contact:  Dick Moore               Rebecca Rhine
               (203) 762-5643
               (212) 719-9570

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