Screen Actors Guild takes big step toward merging with AFTRA
The Screen Actors Guild board of directors on Saturday moved significantly closer to merging with its smaller sister union, the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists.
The board unanimously approved a mission statement for a consolidated union and agreed to create a task force that would work with AFTRA to develop a merger plan, including drafting a constitution and dues policy by January. AFTRA's board is expected to take similar action at meeting on May 14.
The proposed union would represent about 140,000 actors as well news broadcasters, recording artists, dancers and other performers.
"The message from SAG and AFTRA members across the country has been clear: They want this done as soon as possible, " SAG President Ken Howard said in a statement.
"Not only will the creation of one union increase our bargaining leverage, it will allow us to pool our resources to give members the protection they need by actively enforcing contracts and organizing new work," SAG National Secretary Treasurer Amy Aquino said in a statement.
Despite a growing consensus among union leaders that merging is necessary to give the unions more bargaining clout and avoid turf battles, the sides will have to wrestle with a number of tough issues before the marriage can occur sometime early next year. For more details, see today's business story in the Los Angeles Times.