The Screen Extras Guild announced Friday that its bid to affiliate with the Teamsters Union has been approved by the Teamster executive board.
The 6,000-member guild has been seeking a link with the Teamsters, the nation's largest union, in an attempt to gain more leverage in dealing with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
Some details of the merger remain to be worked out, "but nothing now stands in the way of the Teamsters and extras uniting their efforts" to oppose the producers' efforts to roll back wages for extras, said Tom Willett a spokesman for the extras' guild.
"The extras can expect the full support of all Teamster locals," said Jackie Presser, president of the Teamsters, in a prepared statement.
Last week, the extras, who fill out crowd scenes in movies and television programs, announced that their executive board had approved a strike, the first time this has happened in the 41-year history of the guild.
On Dec. 28, after contract talks became stalemated, the producers unilaterally implemented new, lower wage rates. Previously, extras were paid $91 a day. Now they are paid $68 for eight hours work and $54 for a six-hour day.
Thus far, the Teamsters have not given strike sanction to the extras, but union officials said that they expect that to come shortly.
Nicholas J. Counter III, president of the producers' alliance, said in a prepared statement, "We fully expect all employees, including Teamsters, to continue to work under their contracts with us."