The message is solidarity. At least for the next two years as the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) work to repair last year’s bitter split when both sides separately negotiated deals with the studios for the first time in 30 years.
Labor union by definition means an association of workers banded together in the interests of its members. Recent events between SAG and AFTRA almost seem oxymoronic. What’s even worse was the infighting at SAG until two weeks ago when nearly 80% of its members ratified a two-year contract covering movies and prime-time TV shows.
The art of negotiating is all about perception. There is the internal perception within the organization that can affect elections. And there is the public perception which can directly impact organizational direction. This is the group membership as a whole creating leverage to negotiate. Very simply, united we stand, divided we fall.
It’s not easy. Countless other labor organizations continue to experience differences of opinion and infighting. Heck, it’s democracy at its finest moment. But organizers must do their utmost best at maintaining a consistent external message. Unless this is achieved, the confusion will continue to spiral out of control and the organizational message will be distorted.