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SAG Awards 2011: Melissa Leo Calls for SAG, AFTRA to Merge

Melissa Leo
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Julianna Margulies also weighed in backstage at Sunday's show: "I would like us all to be one. We're in an industry where power comes in numbers."

Melissa Leo called for the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists to merge during her speech for best supporting actress at Sunday's award show.

"I don't know what is ahead in the future for now... if we're talking about joining together and making the voice of the working actor stronger," said the Fighter star.

"Let's join together. Let's make it a real voice," she went on. "Unions made this country great because they give the voice to the working people. I'm sorry to get political."

Backstage, Julianna Margulies addressed the merger after winning outstanding performance in a drama series for The Good Wife.

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"I would like us all to be one," she said. "We're in an industry where power comes in numbers."

SAG and AFTRA share 45,000 members.

Last Saturday, AFTRA's national board continued down the path towards a "successor union" with SAG, “overwhelmingly pass[ing] a resolution formally authorizing AFTRA leadership to continue working with Screen Actors Guild in the Presidents’ Forum for One Union and its ‘Listening Tour,’” according to an AFTRA statement.

At AFTRA’s next board meeting, on May 14, the board will receive a recommendation as to whether to “whether or not to create a committee to engage in formal discussions with SAG” regarding the merger.

-- Bryan Alexander contributed to this report.