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One Union Campaign: Web Archiving the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists Merger

Today’s entry is written by Nicole Greenhouse, an archives assistant at the Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives.
Part of Tamiment Library’s history as an institution has been the collecting of ephemeral materials generated by trade unions. Much of this material, especially from the early 20th century to today, can be found in the Tamiment’s Printed Ephemera Collection on Trade Unions (PE 001). In 2007, the Tamiment Library began archiving labor union websites using the Web Archiving Service, developed by the California Digital Library, to create a huge resource of information on and about trade unions, especially those based in New York City.This web collection can be found either by searching the Tamiment Library’s finding aids portal and viewing its finding aid, or visiting the project’s website.
Tamiment Library’s Labor Unions and Organizations Web Collection contains archived versions of national and local New York union websites from all sectors, including communications, construction, public and government employees, manufacturing, services industries, transport, and entertainment.
1wag281_b146_f30.jpg
Merger flyer (c.1975-1978), American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) National Office Records (WAG 281), Box 146, folder 30, Tamiment Library and Wagner Labor Archives, New York University.
Tamiment also archives the websites of organizations whose records we hold, including the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) National Office Records. Last year on March 30, 2012, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) merged with AFTRA, creating SAG-AFTRA. Tamiment’s web archives document the merger and demonstrate the growing importance of web archiving.
Since the 1930s, AFTRA and SAG have made many unsuccessful merger attempts, significantly in the 1950s and 1970s.
1wag281_b149_f05002.jpg Ballot resolution on possible merger (1958), American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) National Office Records (WAG 281), Box 149, folder 5, Tamiment Library and Wagner Labor Archives, New York University.
However, on July 21, 2010, after the Administrative Committee of the National Board of Directors met, AFTRA announced that it would begin having informal exploratory meetings with SAG on a potential merger.Earlier that year in AFTRA’s spring 2010 newsletter, National President Roberta Reardon stated the importance of merging and creating one union. The SAG-AFTRA Relations Task Force came to similar conclusions in the spring of 2010 as well. Throughout that year and into 2011, both presidents of SAG and AFTRA toured the country with a listening forum, hearing from members of both unions on the merger. On April 30, 2011, SAG had announced the establishment of a merger task force.
By mid-2011 and up until the vote in April 2012, both unions’ websites featured their One Union Campaign prominently on their front page. In early 2012, they had created a website with information about the merger, containing endorsement videos.
On March 30, 2012, AFTRA and SAG’s members officially voted in favor of the merger.The AFTRA-SAG website ceased being an informational site and became the main site for the new union, and both http://sag.org and http://aftra.org ceased to exist by fall 2012.2screenshot_sag.org.jpg
To view more primary source material on the merger, including web pages, newsletters, videos, and other informational materials, please visit Tamiment Library’s Entertainment Industry tag in the Labor Unions web collection. Here, you can browse the crawls and take a closer look at the unions’ websites for a more complete story of the merger. Without Tamiment’s web archives, labor history would lose a valuable trove of primary source information on the contemporary labor movement.

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