AFTRA Suspends Joint Bargaining Agreement With Screen Actors Guild

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The two major actors' unions, the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists, have gone their separate ways after 27 years. KPCC's Brian Watt says AFTRA will negotiate its own contract with studios.

Brian Watt: AFTRA has 70,000 members, SAG, 120,000. About 44,000 people belong to both unions. They've tried to merge a few times, and SAG members' consistent "no" votes have created some tension. That's small time compared to the rift daytime drama has created. AFTRA accuses SAG of trying to approach actors on the soap opera "The Bold and the Beautiful." Soaps traditionally fall within AFTRA's jurisdiction, as The Hollywood Reporter's Leslie Simmons explained on KPCC's AirTalk.

Leslie Simmons: If you talk to AFTRA, they feel that SAG is being proactive in representing those actors on that soap opera. If you talk to SAG, they say that all that happened is that a cast member came to us, talked to us about it, we informed them that they needed to go to their union and discuss these issues.

Watt: The two unions' contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers expires on June 30th. SAG President Allen Rosenberg says AFTRA's decision undermines all actors' strength at the bargaining table. He's vowed to improve on the deal the Writers Guild reached after a 100 day strike. But now SAG might have to wait, while the producers negotiate with AFTRA.