Layoffs to begin in early May
The moves will leave SAG-AFTRA with slightly over 500 employees.
“This is a difficult undertaking and we are obligated to be wise stewards of the members’ resources while remaining laser-focused on our core union mission,” said SAG-AFTRA co-president Roberta Reardon. “We are a national union committed to excellent service in vibrant markets across the country. That won’t change.”
The moves were approved Sunday by the national board to close a $6 million “structural deficit” between revenue and expenses that are tied to the costs of the separate unions prior to the merger.
Members of SAG and AFTRA approved the merger in March 2012, with the pact specifying that no layoffs would occur immediately. In September, SAG-AFTRA launched a voluntary buyout that cut 80 positions.
SAG-AFTRA said the staff reductions will begin in early May. It also said the moves would position the union for “strength and growth” in major media markets and emerging production areas, and ensure resources are focused on core operational functions and improved member services.
“This weekend, our leadership made several critical decisions confirming a strategic path that refocuses this organization on core principles,” national exec director David White said. “We have addressed a structural deficit that relates to legacy costs and positions the union for long-term health and power. These moves ensure that we can adapt to the evolving industries in which our members earn a living, and are better able to protect them wherever they work around the world.”
SAG-AFTRA said it will keep offices open in eight major markets and seven broadcast/emerging markets, which cover a total of 93 percent of the membership. The eight major markets are Los Angeles, New York, Washington-Mid Atlantic, Chicago, San Francisco, New England, Philadelphia, and Miami. The seven broadcast/emerging markets are Dallas-Ft. Worth, Seattle, Atlanta, Nashville, Hawaii, Ohio-Pittsburgh and Missouri Valley.
The 10 offices were not identified but current offices not listed on the 15 markets include Houston-Austin, Twin Cities, San Diego, Nevada, Arizona-Utah, Portland, Colorado, New Mexico and New Orleans.
The offices will be closed over the next several months. White says the closures will not mean reduced services or scaled-back representation in the long-term.
“We have to think differently about how we move forward in the world to support over 165,000 professionals who work in front of a camera or behind a microphone around the globe,” he added.