SAG-AFTRA Merger Opponents Drop Plans for Legal Action

Ed Asner, Martin Sheen and others decide to let things be after overwhelming vote in favor of SAG-AFTRA merger

Opponents of the merger between the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television & Radio Actors have thrown in the towel and decided not to pursue further legal action against the merger.

David Casselman, an attorney for the opponents, stated the group's intention to drop the case in a letter to the union's attorneys Thursday.

Also read: SAG-AFTRA Merger: Judge Won't Block Vote

The main reasoning for not pursuing legal action? In light of the overwhelming vote to approve the merger, it doesn't make much sense to buck popular opinion.

"After careful consideration, largely reflecting on the results of the recent merger election, my clients have reached the conclusion that continued prosecution of the pending litigation would not assist the cause that they sought to champion," the letter reads.

Also read: SAG-AFTRA Opponents Outline Their Concerns

While the letter adds that the clients "continue to believe in the truth of a of the allegations presented," it also points out that "only time will tell" whether the merger of SAG and AFTRA was worth it.

The merger easily passed in a late March vote, with 86 percent of AFTRA ballots approving the merger and 82 percent of the SAG ballots doing so.

Also read: SAG and AFTRA Merger Overwhelmingly Approved by Membership

A group of 68 SAG members, including Martin Sheen, Ed Asner and Ed Harris, filed suit to block a vote on the merger in February, claiming that SAG had failed to properly conduct a study on the effects of the proposed merger on SAG's pension and health benefits.

Federal judge James Otero shot down the group's lawsuit in just days before the late March vote.

"[A]t this point, continued prosecution of the litigation would merely detract from the important mission of the new union as it seeks to represent a large and diverse group of individuals," the letter adds.