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SAG President Ken Howard speaks onstage at the 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Award Nominations at the SilverScreen Theater at the Pacific Design Center on December 14, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.
Two of the oldest performers' unions are getting close to announcing a merger vote. The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists (AFTRA) have been in talks since early last year. Leaders of the unions have even decided on a new moniker. “The Hollywood Reporter” says SAG-AFTRA would be the new straightforward name.
In past merger talks, a total rebranding of a merged union possibly helped sink the deal. SAG members have voted against a merger twice, in 1999 and 2003. Nevertheless, for decades the question has always been why are the two unions still separate? Tens of thousands of performers belong to both. And the silos have led to disputes and difficulties in studio negotiations.
Why is another merger attempt happening now? Will SAG members still be the stumbling block? If so, why? What do members have to win and lose if a merger goes forward?
Jonathan Handel, OfCounsel at TroyGould and Contributing Editor, The Hollywood Reporter