Dear Screen Actors Guild Member,
You may have seen or heard news reports about the large rallies in support of union workers taking place in Madison, Wisconsin over the last week. You may have asked yourself why tens of thousands of working people are protesting, or why you should care.
Here’s why what is happening in Wisconsin could have far-reaching consequences for you and union workers across the country. The crowds are protesting because Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has introduced a proposal that will strip most collective bargaining rights from public workers in Wisconsin. And it is believed that if this action succeeds in Wisconsin, these kinds of anti-union efforts may spread across the country and ultimately could affect labor organizations like Screen Actors Guild.
The right of working people to join together and collectively bargain is enshrined in law. It is fundamental to unionism and allows working people to choose to have a common voice on wages and working conditions in their industries. Screen Actors Guild was formed in 1933 for exactly that reason: to negotiate with the powerful Hollywood studios to ensure fair treatment for actors. We believed in collective bargaining then, and we believe in it today.
The proposed action in Wisconsin seeks to deny union workers their fundamental right to join together and bargain collectively. If it is successful in Wisconsin, it could happen anywhere. In addition to adding our voice of support to other working families around the country, this is why Screen Actors Guild members care about Wisconsin.
And that's also why all of us whether or not we belong to any trade union should worry about what's happening in Wisconsin and support those who are trying to stop the governor of that state from taking away what took so long in effort and blood to obtain.