SAG-AFTRA Merger Opponents Outline Their Concerns

Opponents of the proposed SAG-AFTRA merger prepare a 1,000-word document to be sent, along with pro-merger literature, with ballots that go out by the end of the month

Opponents of the proposed merger between SAG and AFTRA say that the proposal that members will vote on over the next month will create a "bloated bureaucracy," remove majority rule, increase basic dues and diminish the pensions that SAG members otherwise would receive.

In a 1,000-word statement that will be sent to members of both unions along with merger ballots next week, opponents Scott Bakula, Joe d’Angerio, Elliott Gould, Valerie Harper, Ed Harris, Anne-Marie Johnson, David Jolliffe and Martin Sheen ask members to vote no "and demand that our union leaders conduct the necessary due diligence to create an agreement which will not harm actors."

Also read: SAG, AFTRA Release Details of Proposed Merger

Opponents express concerns about how a merged union will govern itself, and note that while the current SAG constitution prohibits the guild from paying officers, the SAG-AFTRA constitution allows elected leaders to receive pay.

Read the opposition statement here

The opponents also worry that the merged board would have the authority to decide whether agents can own or be owned by production companies, and notes that "the SAG membership rejected the last agent agreement because of this potential conflict of interest."

And opponents noted that "the unions have not exchanged actor contract details. We have no idea how-what-when-why AFTRA gives away residuals in made-for-basic cable shows or other concessions to management."

Also read: SAG Merger Opponents Weigh Legal Action

A spokeswoman for SAG did not immediately return telephone calls or emails for comment Sunday afternoon. Opposition spokesmen were not available for comment.

The SAG and AFTRA boards approved the merger in January. SAG President Ken Howard and AFTRA President Roberta Reardon favor the merger.

Pro-SAG-AFTRA merger documents are available at the One Union website.

The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news.