AFTRA, SAG Committee Reaches Merger Proposal

The proposal still needs approval from both unions’ boards and then from members

A committee of the American Federation of Television Artists and Screen Actors Guild has reached an agreement for the two unions to merge, the labor organizations said Monday.

The proposed agreement now goes to each union's boards of directors and then for a vote of the membership.

Specifics of the proposal were not released — and won't be until the boards meet. It is clear, however, that the proposal outlines, in detail, what the merged union would look like and how it would operate.

Members of the two unions' Group for One Union, or G1, spent the past nine days ironing out details of the proposed agreement. As the name implies, the committee's mission was to develop a merger proposal — so a tentative agreement was expected.

Also read: SAG-AFTRA Merger Team Readies for 9 Days of Talks

SAG's board will meet on Jan. 27 and 28 to consider and vote on the package. AFTRA's board will meet on Jan. 28 and, if necessary, Jan. 29, to do the same.

While those votes are more than a mere formality, the boards are expected to approve a merger agreement.

“What we have accomplished over the last year is tremendously gratifying. We are confident our members will agree that we have created something we can all be proud of – actors, singers, broadcasters, dancers, voiceover artists, background actors, stuntpersons and all entertainment and media professionals that will be represented by this new union," the two unions' presidents, SAG's Ken Howard and AFTRA's Roberta Reardon, said in a written statement.

They said that the "consensus process" they used in order to develop the agreement "allowed our G1 members to fully discuss, debate and reach agreement on critical provisions that form a strong foundation for a single union that will protect and strengthen the future for all our members."

Howard was elected in 2009 on a pro-merger platform. Reardon also has long favored a merger to  a single union.

Also read: Ken Howard on the SAG/AFTRA Merger: 'A Hurricane Couldn't Stop Us'

The G1 Committee has held five rounds of meetings. The most recent began Jan. 7 and wrapped up Jan. 16. Meetings were facilitated by Professor Susan J. Schurman, of the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations and by Peter S. DiCicco, a labor consultant.

The committee met at the Hollywood Renaissance Hotel and at the AFTRA and SAG headquarters in Los Angeles.

In 2003, nearly 58 percent of SAG members voted to merge the two – a clear majority but short of the supermajority needed to proceed.