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SAG, AFTRA Officially Begin Merger Talks

Representatives of each guild meet over the weekend and establish work groups to make recommendations on key issues related to the merger.

 SAG and AFTRA have officially begun merger talks.

The SAG Merger Task Force and AFTRA New Union Committee met face-to-face over the weekend at the National Labor College in Silver Spring, Md.

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The Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA Group for One Union, or G1, as the two groups are jointly being called, established a series of work groups to discuss six key areas that rank-and-file members identified as important, including governance and structure; finance and dues; collective bargaining; pension, health and retirement; operations and staff; and member education and outreach.

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Those six groups will formulate recommendations for how the merged union should address each area and bring those recommendations back to the G1 for approval. The G1 group will incorporate those recommendations into its merger agreement, national constitution and uniform dues structure that each union’s national board has required for review by January 2012.

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In a joint statement, AFTRA National president Roberta Reardon and SAG president Ken Howard said of the meeting: "We applaud the members and staff of our two unions for their incredible solidarity and vision during this intense and substantive weekend. We know the members of the successor union will be well served by their diligent and hard work during the months to come."

The next meeting of the full AFTRA and Screen Actors Guild Group for One Union is scheduled for Aug. 27-28 in New York.