Members of the American Federation of
Television and Radio Artists and Screen Actors Guild have voted to approve the
merger of the two unions.
vote was 82% in favor (SAG) -- based on a 53% return on 105,368 ballots
mailed -- and 86% in favor (AFTRA)-51.7% of 65,744 ballots mailed, both well
above the 60% of votes needed for approval.
merger was effective as of Friday (March 30),and is a union consolidation move
partly in response to the consolidation of the studios and distributors with
which they negotiate.
combined union, SAG-AFTRA, will represent more than 150 ,000 workers in TV and
Radio and the Internet. The union is headed by co-presidents Ken Howard, former
president of SAG, and Roberta Reardon, former president of AFTRA.
Writers Guild of America, West, President Chris Keyser, praised
the move. "The WGAW congratulates SAG and AFTRA on their historic
unification. It is our hope that the merged guild will be a source of
increased power for its membership," he said in a statement.
Directors Guild of America President Taylor
Hackford added his shout out to the meld.
has been a long time in the making," he said in a statement. "Both guilds
labored for many years to achieve this merger, believing that a single combined
union would be stronger, more unified and more capable of representing the
needs of its members in a changing entertainment landscape. The memberships
of both guilds have made clear through their vote today that they agree."
on creating a merger package have been going on since June of last year. Both
union boards approved the merger in January.