The last merger attempt failed to reach the required 60% of SAG's membership ratification by only a few hundred votes, and lese than on percent. AFTRA overwhelmingly passed the last attempt at joining the unions, a merger plan that was flawed in procedual disagreements and ways unrelated to the need to work together and merge.
Having stage, film, television and commercial actors under one umbrella is not uncommon in entertainment unions around the world.
There remains opposition to any talk of merger or movement toward it in factions of all three unions, with the strongest percentage within SAG.
With the election of leaders at the head of both unions who are open to the concept, speculation in the media and among union membership is reaching a renewed fever.
The following is from SAG WATCH, a blog that follows AFTRA-SAG poltiics, and includes links to other sources:
“The experiences of recent years have given performers valuable insight into the true costs of having separate unions and most actors I’ve talked with have expressed a real sense of urgency about fixing the problem.”Variety on the letter, pointing out that the magazine also contains a report from the SAG/AFTRA relations task force. No surprise: the task force is also supportive:
“By combining our strengths, we can adapt and thrive in a shifting marketplace. By coming together as one, we can more powerfully protect the SAG and AFTRA members who work so hard to turn their inspiration into reality.”Who’s opposed? The same group that has opposed merger for the past decade and change. Variety quotes SAG First VP and AFTRA National Board member Anne-Marie Johnson as calling discussion “premature,” and correctly noting that no specific plan is on the table.