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AFTRA Confab Under Way

More than 240 delegates from the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists gathered Aug. 6 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Chicago for the their 62nd national convention. While the agenda for the three-day gathering is wide open, Roberta Reardon will likely be re-elected as the union's national president.

Since taking office two years ago, Reardon has guided AFTRA through seven contract negotiations and a turf war with the Screen Actors Guild over basic-cable jurisdiction. Now at the end of her first term, she can boast of presiding over the union's emergence as a force in prime-time broadcast television. Before the new contracts were negotiated, AFTRA had jurisdiction over only a few programs in that category. Once the fall season begins, it will have more than 30.

Reardon is one of 12 incumbents running for re-election to national office (there are no open seats), and, like her 1st and 2nd vice presidents, treasurer, recording secretary, and seven unnumbered VPs, she is expected to run unopposed. That could, of course, alter after 8 p.m., Aug. 8, when elections will begin and any delegate will be able to nominate any member for any position. But don't bet on regime change.

Even more certain is the current state of AFTRA's constitution. Unlike regular motions, which can be brought to the floor as late as the convention's opening night, potential amendments must be filed 60 days in advance. No constitutional changes are on the table.

The gathering takes place as AFTRA prepares to enter a new round of contract negotiations in 2010 and shifts focus to new media, which Reardon told reporters in July is "work that needs to be organized" and "brought under contract."

Loeb Wins IATSE Top Seat: The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees closed its five-day convention July 31 with the announcement that Matthew D. Loeb had been re-elected president, joining 17 fellow incumbent officers who declared victory after running unopposed. Loeb took office last year after former president Thomas C. Short resigned one year before the end of his term, following 14 years of service. IATSE represents more than 110,000 below-the-line employees in the United States and Canada.

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