A proposed merger of performer unions SAG and AFTRA could be on the table for membership ratification as early as February, with a vote due back in March, according to this article from the Hollywood Reporter’s Jonathan Handel. A confidential source close to the discussion, which is officially still under wraps, tells Handel the proposed new union would be managed by “co-presidents” for an interim period, but would eventually elect a single president, national executive vice president, secretary-treasurer and a national board. Ten additional VP spots are rumored to be in the works for various cities and occupational categories, e.g. actors and singers.
Up to 500 delegates, including board members and office holders, would meet at a convention every other year under the proposed plan. A key change for AFTRA would be tougher guidelines for joining the union, as currently the only requirement is payment of an initiation fee. However, the source says entry may be easier than under current SAG guidelines, with some allowances made for education and training level.
The proposed merger plan is slated to be presented in full to the SAG and AFTRA boards via videoconference on Sunday. The two orgs will then break out separately the following weekend to discuss the proposal. Handel estimates that the boards of both unions will approve the merger as proposed, and that SAG president Ken Howard and AFTRA president Roberta Reardon will make the announcement with a call to ratification at the SAG Awards January 30.