SAG, AFTRA Meet About Merger

Unions may retain independent facilitator to smooth process.

Even as SAG and AFTRA continue to jointly negotiate with the AMPTP for a new actors contract, the unions are inching closer to a merger.

Progress came in the form of a meeting Thursday night of the AFTRA and Screen Actors Guild Presidents’ Forum for One Union. The purpose of the meeting was, in the words of a statement issued by the unions, “to begin joint discussions about uniting to form a single union.”

The next meeting might come as soon as next month.

Attendees at the three-hour meeting included the presidents and executive directors of both unions and member representatives of both unions from across the country. The forum is made up of 12 people.

The group reviewed possible parameters for future discussions and committed to hearing from an array of member groups in both unions about their needs and concerns. The forum also discussed retaining an independent facilitator to help develop a process and timeline.

The forum included national presidents Ken Howard of SAG and Roberta Reardon of AFTRA and national executive directors Kim Roberts Hedgpeth of AFTRA and David White of SAG.

In the statement, both presidents expressed optimism on future progress.

“Thursday’s meeting was a successful first step, and we are already considering dates in November for our next meeting,” Howard said. “I’m committed to moving forward and to engaging in a public and transparent process that will foster buy-in across our memberships."

Said Reardon, “This was an extremely productive first meeting of the Presidents’ Forum, and I’m happy that leadership from AFTRA’s diverse categories of membership were able to join us for the discussion. I believe deeply in this exciting and important project, and I look forward to speaking with members from both unions around the country as we work together to create one successor union.”