By Stephanie Ciccarelli
February 28, 2012
Will the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists merge?
In the near future there will be a vote to decide whether these two performers unions will become one and serve their members, many of whom belong to both organizations, in a more unified and practical manner.
Do you have any thoughts or feelings you'd like to share?
Be sure to comment and express your opinion!
After decades of division and unsuccessful attempts to unite, the two most powerful performers guilds in the United States of America are heading toward an historic vote to merge.
The prospect of a SAG-AFTRA merger has been received with great anticipation by talent who are members of both organizations. A merger could mean less money spent in membership dues for those who are members of both, a better chance of getting health benefits and more.
If there's one reason for merger that sticks out most in my memory, it's this:
Talent who are members of both organizations want to see the monies they make working SAG and AFTRA jobs combined so that they can hit the financial threshold necessary obtain health benefits. The merger of these two unions would theoretically consolidate a performer's earnings and bring them to a place where they can qualify.
The SAGAFTRA.org website cites this as the key reason as to why SAG and AFTRA should unite:
"Increasing our bargaining strength is the key reason because that is the foundation of ALL union protections - from wages and residuals to safety and workplace protections and, of course, pension and health benefits. Merging AFTRA and SAG will increase our bargaining strength and give us more power to safeguard these vital protections."
While perusing the FAQs, I also thought this one might be of interest:
"Decisions about combining the AFTRA and SAG benefit plans will ultimately be made by the plan trustees, not the unions. But there is no realistic chance the trustees will take steps toward combining the plans unless the unions have already merged.
When merger was last considered in 2003, some members were led to believe that keeping the unions separate would protect their benefits - but the reality has been far different. Since then, health plan costs such as premiums have increased while coverage has been reduced; pension accrual rates have declined while earnings needed to qualify for both types of benefits have risen. Many members now find their earnings split between the SAG and AFTRA plans, making it much harder to qualify."
For more information about the most frequently asked questions regarding this potential merger, visit:
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