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The SAG board of directors Friday approved a proposed merger with AFTRA, bringing the two unions a step closer to uniting, eight decades after they were founded on opposite coasts and during very different times. The move was expected, as was the new union’s name: SAG-AFTRA.
The proposal, which includes a Merger Agreement and Constitution, was approved 87.1% to 12.9%. According to a SAG statement, these documents outline the merger plan, dues and finance structure, membership requirements, and other basic attributes of the successor union.
The package now goes to AFTRA, whose board will vote tomorrow or perhaps Sunday, depending on how much time is needed for discussion.
“I would like to congratulate the SAG National Board members on overwhelmingly approving the merger plan proposal at their meeting today,” said AFTRA president Roberta Reardon. She added “I look forward to our discussion tomorrow at the AFTRA National Board meeting.”
AFTRA’s board is expected to approve the proposal as well – probably by an even higher margin than SAG’s board. Merger opponents’ failure to achieve at least 25% No vote on the board means that they will be unable to require that the ballot referendum include a minority report.
If approved, SAG president Ken Howard and AFTRA president Reardon are likely to make a high profile announcement regarding the balloting during the nationally televised SAG Awards on Sunday. According to the SAG statement, the proposal would 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.
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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