AFTRA TRUSTEE STATEMENT
EVIDENCE THAT AFTRA TRUSTEE’S DID NOT SUPPORT THE OPINION OF AFTRA’S LAWYERS IN REGARD TO THE MERGING OF THE SAG AND AFTRA PLANS. THE AFTRA PLAN TRUSTEE’S FIRMLY DISAGREED WITH AFTRA’S ATTORNEY’S OPINIONS.
This proves the lack of financial due-diligence and negligent business practices of the current leadership, United for Strength, to include National Executive Director David White.
The shareholders or members of any corporation as a matter of law must be provided all information to make an educated decision when considering a merger or an acquisition. The members did not get the dignity of this information that would have allowed them an educated vote.
AFTRA health and pension plan trustees take union to task
FEBRUARY 2, 2012 | 11:47 AM
In what could be a move by employers to throw some cold water on the planned merger of Hollywood's two actors unions, trustees for the health and pension funds of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists have issued a statement challenging some legal opinions cited by the unions.
The trustees of AFTRA's health and retirement plans, which include representatives from labor and management, on Thursday took issue with a "feasibility review" document the unions posted on their websites this week. Those cited the opinion of various lawyers -- including Jani Rachelson, co-counsel of the AFTRA Health and Retirement Funds -- stating "there are no legal impediments to merging the plans."
The feasibility review was part of an overall merger package the boards of the two unions recently approved in a bid to gain more leverage in negotiations with studios, which in the past have successfully exploited divisions between the two groups to gain the upper hand in contract talks. Members of each union will vote on the merger in the coming weeks.
On Thursday, the board of trustees for the AFTRA health and pension funds said the feasibility review did not represent the opinion of the board.
"The Board of Trustees did not request or authorize this opinion of Fund co-counsel and had no prior knowledge of this letter before reading the posting on the websites,'' the trustees said in a statement. "Although there is no doubt that planned mergers are legally permissible in appropriate circumstances, the merger of pension and health funds as large and divergent as the SAG and AFTRA plans raise complex and unique financial, legal and benefit issues which can only be addressed through a comprehensive analysis performed by the funds."
Details on how the unions' respective health and pension plans will be combined will be addressed only after members approve a merger in upcoming referendum.
A spokeswoman for AFTRA declined to comment on the matter.
-- Richard Verrier
TITLE V-SAFEGUARDS FOR LABOR ORGANIZATIONS
Fiduciary Responsibility of Officers of Labor Organizations
[click here for AUD summary]
(29 U.S.C. 501)
SEC. 501. (a) The officers, agents, shop stewards, and other representatives of a labor organization occupy positions of trust in relation to such organization and its members as a group. It is, therefore, the duty of each such person, taking into account the special problems and functions of a labor organization, to hold its money and property solely for the benefit of the organization and its members and to manage, invest, and expend the same in accordance with its constitution and bylaws and any resolutions of the governing bodies adopted thereunder, to refrain from dealing with such organization as an adverse party or in behalf of an adverse party in any matter connected with his duties and from holding or acquiring any pecuniary or personal interest which conflicts with the interests of such organization, and to account to the organization for any profit received by him in whatever capacity in connection with transactions conducted by him or under his direction on behalf of the organization. A general exculpatory provision in the constitution and bylaws of such a labor organization or a general exculpatory resolution of a governing body purporting to relieve any such person of liability for breach of the duties declared by this section shall be void as against public policy.