Message from org prexies favors merger

Campaigning for the merger of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists has heated up, with members now receiving automated calls from SAG president Ken Howard and AFTRA president Roberta Reardon.

Ballots went out this week to 131,000 SAG and AFTRA members; the voting deadline is March 30. More than 60% of those voting in each union must approve for the merger to go through.

Calls began to go out Thursday. Howard’s message went to SAG members, Reardon’s to AFTRA members; a joint message went to the 45,000 joint members.

“Hi, this is SAG president Ken Howard reminding you to make sure and vote on the merger of SAG and AFTRA,” the robo-call begins. “If you’re like me, you’ll be voting yes, because bringing actors into one union gives us more strength at the bargaining table. SAG-AFTRA will be the most powerful entertainment union in the industry — but it will only happen if you vote yes. So find your ballot package, take a look at the materials and then join me and your national board in voting yes. Thanks.”

The robo-call then follows with Reardon asserting, “SAG-AFTRA will be the most powerful entertainment and media union in our industry — covering the spectrum of work from broadcasting to entertainment to sound recordings. This will only happen if you vote yes. Please find your ballot package, take a look at the materials and then join me and your national board in voting yes. Help us create one union for all professionals in entertainment and media.”

Opponents of the merger filed a lawsuit last week attempting to block the counting of merger votes, alleging SAG and its leaders are attempting to merge with AFTRA “without conducting the necessary due diligence.”

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