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Hollywood Union Leaders Back Merger Plan

October 06, 1998|Reuters

The Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Radio & Television Artists, the two major unions representing film and TV actors, said their boards have approved a merger plan, bringing decades of talk about a combination one step closer to a conclusion. The boards of directors of both unions agreed to the plan over the weekend after hammering out a final deal on new financing that boosts initiation fees. The new union would be called the Screen Actors Guild/American Federation of Television & Radio Artists or SAG/AFTRA. The unions' members, 120,000 in all, will be asked to vote in November, the unions said in a joint statement. About 30,000 of those performers are members of both unions, which originally began talking of a merger in the 1940s. The unions believe a combination of the two will increase their strength during bargaining with companies and producers over performer contracts.

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