Actors’ Equity Assn. prexy Patrick Quinn has strongly urged the union’s members to vote for the proposal to merge SAG and AFTRA into a new umbrella union.
“I not only urge you, I implore you to vote yes,” Quinn said in a message this week. “This merger is the only way that these two unions will have the strength to combat the media conglomerates that are taking over the industry. Your future is at stake. Vote yes as soon as you receive your ballot.”
The Actors Equity Council unanimously backed the “consolidation and affiliation” proposal in April. Approximately two-thirds of Equity’s 45,000 members are also in SAG and/or AFTRA.
In February, Equity exec director Alan Eisenberg backed the proposal to merge SAG and AFTRA. SAG and AFTRA leaders already have suggested that once the deal is completed and the new Alliance of Intl. Media Artists is created, they will begin seeking more merger partners such as Equity, the American Federation of Musicians and the American Guild of Variety Artists.
In addition to Equity, the American Federation of Musicians and IATSE have endorsed the merger plan along with DGA prexy Martha Coolidge.
Ballots went out this week to 98,000 SAG members and 77,000 AFTRA members. Opposition has come mostly from SAG members who contend the new structure will lead to less power for actors and a larger bureaucracy.