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The AFTRA board of directors Saturday approved a proposed merger with SAG, triggering a membership vote that could unite the unions by the end of March into a single union, to be called SAG-AFTRA. The move was expected and came a day after SAG’s board passed a similar motion.
The proposal, which includes a Merger Agreement and Constitution, was approved 94% to 6%.
“We now have the opportunity to finally stand united through one union to secure more union work and better benefits for our members, and for the generations of entertainment and media professionals who follow us,” said AFTRA president Roberta Reardon.
“This is a terrific outcome,” said SAG president Ken Howard. He added, “I believe our members will decisively approve this merger.”
The AFTRA percentage is even higher than the SAG vote, which was by 87.1% to 12.9%. Votes on the SAG board are weighted. The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed that there were approximately 8 or 9 votes against merger out of the 71 member board. Unexpectedly, one of the No votes was from a New York board member.
Howard will make a high profile announcement regarding the balloting during the nationally televised SAG Awards on Sunday. According to a SAG statement yesterday, the proposal will be sent to the two unions’ membership for a vote on or about February 27, with a ballot return and tabulation deadline of March 30.
The SAG materials will include an opposition statement, even though merger opponents did not achieve the necessary 25% threshold that would have mandated one. However, merger proponents proposed including such a statement anyway.
It takes a 60% affirmative vote within each union in order to pass a merger referendum. AFTRA met those thresholds during attempts in 1998 and 2003, but SAG did not.
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