Two leading acting unions in Hollywood, the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, are one step closer to be unified in a merger agreement. On Friday, January 27, the SAG Board of Directors have voted overwhelmingly to approve the acquisition proposal with the sister union AFTRA.
The proposal includes a Merger Agreement and Constitution and was approved 87.1% to 12.9% by the SAG voters. It outlines "the plan of merger, dues and finance structure, membership requirements, and other basic attributes of the successor union." The proposed name for the new union, meanwhile, is SAG-AFTRA.
In its official statement, SAG announced, "It was moved and seconded that the National Board of Directors, on the recommendation of the Merger Task Force, approves the proposed Merger Agreement between Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and further approves the proposed SAG-AFTRA Constitution."
"The National Board directs that the proposed Constitution and Merger Agreement be submitted for membership approval by mailed ballot referendum in cooperation with AFTRA," so the press release read. "The referendum materials and ballot shall be mailed on or about February 27, 2012, with a ballot return and tabulation deadline of March 30, 2012."
The same proposal must also be approved by AFTRA's National Board of Directors. The board will have their meeting on January 28 to review and vote on the package. Should AFTRA also agree with the plan, a referendum will be sent out for a vote by members of both unions in the coming weeks.
AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon also released a statement regarding the issue. She said, "I would like to congratulate the SAG National Board members on overwhelmingly approving the merger plan proposal at their meeting today, and I look forward to our discussion tomorrow at the AFTRA National Board meeting."
SAG has more than 125,000 actors, while AFTRA represents more than 70,000 members that include actors, broadcasters, disc jockey, singers and dancers. Members of both unions include around 40,000 people. Should the merger be sealed, SAG president Ken Howard will likely make a high-profile announcement during the 2012 SAG Awards that will take place on Sunday, January 29.
Meanwhile, this year's SAG Awards will be broadcast live coast-to-coast on TNT and TBS at 8 P.M. ET / 5 P.M. PT. Its ceremony is expected to be attended by A-listers like George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Glenn Close, Bryan Cranston, Viola Davis and Meryl Streep among others.