LOS ANGELES – The Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists moved closer to writing a merger agreement to submit to their members in January, the unions’ presidents reported.

The unions’ joint merger committee met for five days in mid-October, as did subgroups working on governance, dues, collective bargaining, pensions, union structure, and education and outreach. SAG President Ken Howard and AFTRA President Roberta Reardon said the “remarkably productive” sessions “made solid progress across the full spectrum of issues we have to consider.”

If the two reach agreement, it would mark the second time they tried to merge. Members of one of the two rejected a prior attempt. SAG represents 70,000 workers in the performing arts, while AFTRA represents 125,000. The AFL-CIO, saying that both member unions have common interests, promotes the merger.

Howard and Reardon agree. “Our shared interests are far greater than any differences we have,” they said in a joint statement. “The entertainment and media industries are evolving more quickly than ever, and the chance to bring our unions together is a golden opportunity-one we plan to take full advantage of. We’re committed to preserving the best aspects of SAG and AFTRA while we build a powerful new union that will be even better equipped to take on the emerging realities we’re facing. One thing is certain: We’re much stronger together than we are apart.”



Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of Press Associates Inc. (PAI), a union news service in Washington, D.C. that he has headed since 1999. Previously, he worked as Washington correspondent for the Ottaway News Service, as Port Jervis bureau chief for the Middletown, NY Times Herald Record, and as a researcher and writer for Congressional Quarterly. Mark obtained his BA in public policy from the University of Chicago and worked as the University of Chicago correspondent for the Chicago Daily News.