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Hollywood unions come together -- for a change

May 14, 2009 | 12:25 pm

Hollywood's entertainment unions, which often clash over bargaining strategy, finally have something they can rally around (surprise): the right of workers to form a union.

As debate in Washington heats up over the proposed Employee Free Choice Act, unions representing actors, writers, directors and crew members collaborated with umbrella organization AFL-CIO to produce a video in support of the legislation, designed to lift roadblocks to unionization.

The three-minute online video features testimonials from 47 performers and actors, including F. Murray Abraham, actor-comedian Jerry Stiller and Amy Brenneman, star of the TV series "Private Practice."

"People associate actors with fame and glory. The truth is, for a long time my union contract was the reason I could support my family,'' Brenneman said in a statement. "Each worker, regardless of their field, deserves the freedom to bargain for a contract, for a better life."

Among the participants in the video are the presidents of two Hollywood unions who have no love lost for each other: Alan Rosenberg from SAG, and Roberta Reardon from the smaller actors union, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. The two unions suspended their longstanding joint bargaining agreement last year after a series of disputes.

Even nemeses can occasionally put aside their differences when it comes to the union label.

— Richard Verrier

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