Logo for the combined SAG-AFTRA union. (SAG-AFTRA )
When members of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists voted to merge earlier this year, they did so with the long-term goal of combining their pension and health plans.
On Sunday, the SAG-AFTRA board of directors took a step in that direction. They voted overwhelmingly to urge trustees of the unions' still separate pension and health plans to begin meetings to discuss how to create single health and retirement plans for members of the newly formed union.
Actors have complained in recent years about having their benefits splintered between the two unions, making it harder for them to qualify for health insurance. The issue helped fuel support for merging SAG and AFTRA.
However, combining the separate plans is a complex process and must ultimately be approved by trustees of each plan, which is administered by representatives from the unions and from the major Hollywood studios.
No time frame has been set on when and how that will happen, but SAG-AFTRA leaders are eager to get the process started.
Board members urged trustees to undertake "expeditious and appropriate action to create a unified health plan for performers, broadcasters and others working under SAG-AFTRA collective bargaining agreements, and to implement immediately a reciprocity agreement between the two existing health plans."
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