"How about that!" exclaimed now national co-president Ken Howard as the audience sang to the tune of 'We Shall Overcome", "We have overcome today!"
"What is so overwhelming to me is the sheer number of members who took the leap of faith together and proved there is power in unions." added co-president Rebecca Reardon to solid applause.
The national vote came down as follows:
57% return on AFTRA side, or over 37,500 votes counted
53% return on SAG side, or over 55,000 votes counted.
Howard welcomed "the largest and most powerful union in Hollywood. In this single day the future has become brighter.."
Co-president Rebeca Reardon later pointed out "considering what has happened to public employees and other unions in Wisconsin and across the country, today is a victory for the American Labor Union Movement. We can turn the tide." To which Howard added "a rising tide raises all ships."
Co-president Reardon exclaimed "the birth of your new union is an historic day for the American Labor union movement...The collective will and energy to make this happen, the energy, power and collective will to move forward as the bargaining rights of collective workers across the country have been under siege, the solidarity and collective will to get this done will empower all Americans to move forward!"
Reardon spoke of organization efforts "coast to coast, large markets and small towns, on all areas of work and contracts...We have one voice. We are all about organizing. We are going to organize not only in the major cities, but in every city and town in this country!"
The room was packed with reporters, as well as past presidents of both unions, past union officers and members who flew in from as far away as Boston to be in the room during the historic announcement.
Elections for the new union will occur in the spring or summer of 2013 and will include all offices and seats. Select positions, including at least one national vice president, will be elected at an AFTRA style member convention sometime between spring and fall of next year.
Once again. Thank you for making this day possible! Thank your for electing me as your national board representative so I could continue to be a part of a process I became involved in over 17 years ago, and thank you for your consideration for my continuation under the new union as we build the union and its fabric over the next two to five years.