File photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
File photo: SAG President actress Melissa Gilbert and AFTRA President actor John Connolly, along with other SAG and AFTRA members, join striking UFCW Picket Lines supporting the striking grocery workers outside the Pavilions Market on Dec. 4, 2003 in Burbank.
Hollywood’s two biggest actors unions are a big step closer to a merger. The board for the American Federation of TV and Radio Artists has OK’ed a plan to join up with the Screen Actors Guild. Next comes a vote by union members.
On Friday night, 87 percent of SAG board of directors voted in support of the merger. Saturday, 94 percent of the AFTRA board gave the plan a thumbs-up, too.
Tonight, TV viewers watching the Screen Actors Guild Awards could hear something about the merger as both unions prepare for a ratification vote. The presidents of SAG and AFTRA will reportedly appear together on the red carpet.
Officials of the unions expect to send ballots out to their members out in about a month. SAG has 125,000 members, AFTRA about 70,000. At least 40,000 people carry both union cards. The last time the unions tried to merge eight years ago, AFTRA members said yes, but not enough SAG members went along.
The proposed name for the new union is SAG-AFTRA.