SAG Merger Ballots to Include Opposition Statement (Exclusive)

The decision by the SAG board to allow an opposition statement – even though not required by guild rules – will allow opponents to make their case to the entire guild membership.

The merger referendum materials that will be sent to SAG members will include an opposition statement, The Hollywood Reporter has learned, even though merger opponents on the SAG board did not reach the threshold necessary to require this.

The vote was 87.1% in favor of the merger proposal to 12.9% opposed. Under SAG rules, a No vote of 25% or more would require the referendum materials to include a “minority report” – i.e., a statement in opposition.

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Merger opponents fell far short of that mark, but the rules don’t prohibit a minority report under such circumstances; they simply don’t require it. A source told THR that SAG’s board approved sending an opposition statement to every member of the union.

It’s unknown whether the AFTRA board will decide to send an opposition statement to that union’s members. However, it seems less likely, particularly since merger opponents generally cite SAG-specific reasons for opposing the combination of the two unions.

Also unknown is whether the pro-merger materials that members receive will be the same for both SAG and AFTRA, or not. Actors who are members of both unions – dual cardholders – will receive two ballots though whether these will arrive in a single combined packet or not is still undetermined.

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All of this assumes, of course, that AFTRA’s board approves the merger proposal tomorrow or Sunday, but that’s a virtual certainty.

The SAG board continues to meet at this hour, and is scheduled to meet tomorrow as well. It’s not known what topics are under discussion.

A different form of opposition statement may materialize in the next few days or weeks as well. As THR previously reported, merger skeptics have retained a law firm and hinted at bringing legal action to force the guild to conduct a study – prior to conducting the merger referendum – on what effect merging the unions would have on SAG’s pension and health plans.

Email: jhandel@att.net

Twitter: @jhandel

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