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Actor Martin Landau standing next to a sign opposing the proposed SAG/AFTRA merger the last time around, all the way back in 2003. Today the members vote on a new merger proposal.
After a long, contentious and very public battle, members of two entertainment labor unions have settled the question of whether or not to merge into one. 86% of the 70,000 members of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists voted in favor of the merger, along with 82% of the Screen Actors Guild, which represents over 125,000 actors.
Opponents to the merger, who were in the minority, cited concerns that it would result in decreased health benefits and pensions. In fact, a group of high-profile members, including Martin Sheen, Ed Asner, Valerie Harper and Ed Harris, filed a lawsuit attempting to prevent the vote. After a district court judge denied the injunction yesterday, the unions announced that the tally would proceed and results of the vote would be made public today.
The merger vote needed 60 percent approval of the combined memberships to pass, and will be effective immediately. A recent study in the Hollywood Reporter reveals that SAG’s primetime series market share has plummeted from 93 percent in 2006 to 20 percent today. AFTRA’s share increased accordingly in that period, from less than 10 percent to around 80 percent.
Are you a member of SAG or AFTRA? Are you happy with the results of the vote?
Ned Vaughn, spokesman for Unite for Strength
Anne-Marie Johnson, actor and member of the National Board for SAG