Inside Move: SAG rivals testy in radio debate

Pension, health plan disputed by both sides

The already-bitter campaign over the SAG-AFTRA merger took a nastier turn Thursday with a lively radio debate between SAG 1st VP Mike Farrell and SAG treasurer Kent McCord.

Half-hour event, aired on KPFK-FM’s “Beneath the Surface” program with host Jerry Quickley, featured accusations of unfairness and distortion plus multiple interruptions. “Kent is quite wrong in most of what he said,” declared Farrell at one point; “I’ve been quiet while you blew your smoke,” McCord responded.

And both offered predictions of doom if the other side prevails in the upcoming vote over consolidating SAG and AFTRA as affiliates in the Alliance of Intl. Media Artists.

“If we remain separated, disputes over digital jurisdiction will destroy us,” Farrell asserted. “The notion that digital is nothing but a chimera is nonsense.”

“If this passes, SAG would be nothing more than a glorified committee of AIMA,” McCord declared. “This proposal amounts to a looting of the SAG treasury.”

The debate ended with a testy exchange over the question of merging the SAG and AFTRA pension and health plans. Farrell condemned McCord for supporting management trustees who oppose such a move; McCord responded by citing the trustees’ legal obligation to act in the best interests of plan participants.

Event was the only debate in a public forum that’s taken place since the SAG and AFTRA national boards OK’d the “consolidation and affiliation” last month.

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