This weekend, the boards of directors of both the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFL-CIO (AFTRA) voted overwhelmingly to merge.
“Professional performers are now an important step closer to the strongest union representation possible,” said SAG national president Ken Howard. “Just as our boards have, I believe our members will decisively approve this merger and that SAG-AFTRA will be a leader in shaping the entertainment and media industries.”
“This plan embodies the thoughtful work and valuable perspectives from large and small markets across the nation of many working actors, broadcast professionals, recording artists and other performers who all worked together in solidarity through the G1,” said AFTRA national president Roberta Reardon. “I thank the G1 for their good work, and the National Boards for their approval and we will now present this plan to the members of AFTRA and SAG for their review and approval.”
“We now have the opportunity to finally stand united through one union to secure more union work and better benefits for our members, and for the generations of entertainment and media professionals who follow us,” she added.
SAG’s national board of directors met on Friday and voted in favor of the merger package, put forward by the SAG and AFTRA Group for One Union (G1) which includes a merger agreement and constitution. These documents outline the plan of merger, dues and finance structure, membership requirements, and other basic attributes of the successor union – tentatively called SAG-AFTRA.
SAG approved the merger by a margin of 87.1%-12.9%. The same merger package was approved by AFTRA’s national board of directors on Saturday, Jan. 28 by a margin of 94%-6%.
Now, the proposal moves to a referendum amongst the membership of both unions. Ballots are expected to be mailed by Feb. 27, with a ballot return and tabulation deadline of March 30.
The G1 held five rounds of meetings to create the SAG-AFTRA merger package. The meetings, which began in June 2011, followed a “Listening Tour” conducted by SAG national president Ken Howard and AFTRA national president Roberta Reardon.