Business & Economy

Demonstrators from inside and outside film industry protest SAG-AFTRA union merger

Members of SAG join forces in Museum Square in Los Angeles on February 23rd in opposition to the proposed SAG/AFTRA merger.
Members of SAG join forces in Museum Square in Los Angeles on February 23rd in opposition to the proposed SAG/AFTRA merger.
Mae Ryan/KPCC
Members of SAG join forces in Museum Square in Los Angeles on February 23rd in opposition to the proposed SAG/AFTRA merger.
Alan Rosenberg was the president of SAG from 2004 - 2009 and worries that the current leadership isn't looking out for actors rights in the proposed merger.
Mae Ryan/KPCC
Members of SAG join forces in Museum Square in Los Angeles on February 23rd in opposition to the proposed SAG/AFTRA merger.
Dave Slattery, an actor who is a member of SAG, stands with fellow actors in protest of the proposed SAG/AFTRA merger.
Mae Ryan/KPCC
Members of SAG join forces in Museum Square in Los Angeles on February 23rd in opposition to the proposed SAG/AFTRA merger.
Renee Aubry, an actress, writer and director, wears a sign protesting the SAG/AFTRA merger that would affect her benefits.
Mae Ryan/KPCC
Members of SAG join forces in Museum Square in Los Angeles on February 23rd in opposition to the proposed SAG/AFTRA merger.
Venessa Verdugo and Eddie Kafafian, both actors in SAG, protest the potential merger between SAG and AFTRA.
Mae Ryan/KPCC
Members of SAG join forces in Museum Square in Los Angeles on February 23rd in opposition to the proposed SAG/AFTRA merger.
Eric Brande, an LA actor believes that the SAG and AFTRA merger will impact his pension and healthcare benefits.
Mae Ryan/KPCC
Members of SAG join forces in Museum Square in Los Angeles on February 23rd in opposition to the proposed SAG/AFTRA merger.
A SAG member holding a sign outside in Museum Square.
Mae Ryan/KPCC
Members of SAG join forces in Museum Square in Los Angeles on February 23rd in opposition to the proposed SAG/AFTRA merger.
Renee Aubry, an actress, writer and director, protests the proposed merger of SAG and AFTRA.
Mae Ryan/KPCC


About 30 people from both in and outside the film industry showed up outside of Museum Square on Wilshire to oppose the proposed merger of SAG (Screen Actors Guild) and AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists).

Demonstrators waved signs and handed out hot pink flyers saying that "now is the time to ask questions before casting that all important vote."

"AFTRA and SAG have two different pensions that cannot merge," the flyer proclaimed. "Continue to ask questions. Do research. Come to a meeting about the issues. And vote no on this merger!!!"

Actor Alan Rosenberg, 61, was the president of SAG from 2005 to 2009. He says that he feels the leadership of SAG are not looking out for actors' rights and he worries that middle-class actors will do worse under the merger. He wants the two unions to go back to the drawing board to come up with a new plan.

"They're in such a rush to get this merger done that they're bypassing a step that's mandated by our constitution," said Rosenberg, "to do an impact study on our pension and health plans."

The demonstration comes just a day after over a dozen members of SAG filed a lawsuit to stop the upcoming vote on the prospective merger. The plaintiffs include Martin Sheen, Ed Harris, Valerie Harper and two former SAG presidents.

“They have done nothing of substance to support their claims that the proposed merger will protect SAG member benefits," said David Casselman, the attorney representing the plaintiffs. "The average SAG member makes less than $10,000 per year. They need to know that all necessary due diligence was done to protect them."

Sixty percent of both unions’ members must vote to support the merger.