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SAG's board makes peace with rival union

March 13, 2010 | 12:19 pm

Hollywood's two actors unions have officially ended their two-year feud.

The Screen Actors Guild board of directors voted Saturday by a ratio of 78% to 22% to revive a joint bargaining agreement with its smaller rival, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

The move, which was widely anticipated and follows a similar vote by AFTRA's board last month, clears the way for the two unions to join forces when negotiations begin this fall on a new prime-time TV and theatrical contract that expires in June 2011.

The long-standing bargaining partnership ended two years ago after the unions sparred over negotiating strategy and jurisdiction. The dispute severely weakened SAG's clout with the studios and cleared the way for AFTRA to gain a significant toehold in an area that SAG has traditionally dominated: prime-time television. Virtually all prime-time TV pilots this year are being done under AFTRA's contract.

Although the two unions share about 40,000 members, AFTRA has a more diverse membership, representing not only actors but also recording artists, disc jockeys and newscasters, among others.

-- Richard Verrier