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In this corner, supporting the merger ...

It is not a hard sell, Mr. James Arone of Burbank. It’s an easy sell,

if you are willing to understand who the real foe is in this war. I

am not your enemy; I am your fellow union brother, and your

commentary in the June 18 Leader proves this point. We may be a


unique union, but we are dysfunctional. What other unions in this

country have as much infighting? We are a laughing stock throughout

the American labor movement, and corporate Hollywood loves every

minute of the constant chaos.


I read both sides of the argument with great care. I did not

arrive at my conclusions for a “yes” victory lightly. The only thing

I can say about your statements is that I appreciate you not

attacking me on a personal level. So many on the “no” side are very

good at the personal attacks. I am, however, amazed at your naive

attitude. If you believe the corporate suits are not after our

unions, you are sadly mistaken. I have been a member of both unions

since 1965, and I’ve led two separate lives for 27 years. I was a


corporate suit and, at the same time, a professional actor. It was

not an easy way of life. I have been in those boardrooms. Corporate

Hollywood hates all unions, and I say that with total authority. And

if you think they do not have their hand in this fight, you are again


I also noted that you mentioned you are vested in both union

pension plans. I would like to call your attention to the hundreds,

or perhaps thousands, of members who may be on the verge of being


vested. Due to increasing costs, our unions have been forced to raise

the level or earnings needed to qualify both for pension and health.

Those who are close may never qualify, but nothing can interfere with

your vested pension. It is protected by law. There is no legal

barrier that prohibits the pension plans for being merged. Those

hundreds, or thousands, may have a chance at some kind of pension by

combining the qualified years. No matter how meager it may be, they

could have a chance to justify an entire lifetime spent struggling

for work in this industry. It is time to end the confusion and the

constant fighting over every issue our unions undertake.

It is time to stand up to corporate Hollywood because if the

merger goes down in defeat, we will have met the enemy -- and the

enemy is us. You cannot eat a logo. We need to protect our future,

not our logos. Corporate Hollywood despises our very existence, and

we are giving them exactly what they want in this fight. Yes, I am

totally willing to trust the leadership. I know management; I have

been in their halls and not only heard their hate but felt it


Wake up, Mr. Arone, and know your real enemy. It’s not me, or the

rest of the “yes” supporters.

Joseph Di Sante