SAG, AFTRA expect lower dues

Opponents dispute amount of guild's deficit

SAG and AFTRA have told their 44,000 dual cardholders that their annual base dues will decline to $125 from $216 if the proposed merger goes through.

“There will be a single unified structure that is fair to everyone,” the thesp unions said in a recent message promoting the so-called “Partnership for Power.” SAG and AFTRA also said dues for most of the other 90,000 members will stay the same.

The approach reflects efforts by the unions to avoid a similar fate to the defeat of the 1999 merger by SAG members, who voted no partly because of a proposed SAG base dues increase from $85 to $195.

About 400 of the top-earning local AFTRA broadcasters will be allowed to pay lower annual dues than actors, with dues capped at $3,125 if they work solely under local broadcast contracts. That’s 44% lower than the actors’ cap of $5,625 and significantly higher than the current AFTRA cap of $1,841.

In another development, the board members who are heading the SaveSAG anti-merger forces have chided CEO Bob Pisano for releasing the pro-merger information that SAG’s deficit is $6 million. Opponents, led by SAG treasurer Kent McCord, contend the actual figure is $2.6 million.

The opponents also told Pisano they will no longer observe their confidentiality pledge on disclosing boardroom information about SAG’s finances. “In our view and the view of our counsel, the pledge is a legal nullity and any attempt to enforce it, in the context of this referendum, would undermine and invalidate the referendum,” said a letter signed by McCord. secretary Elliott Gould and seven other board members.

In response, Pisano agreed the deficit had been cut due to sound management and said McCord should feel free to publicize that. He also pointed out the confidentiality policy is set specifically by the board.

At least 60% of voters in both unions must approve the deal for the merger to go through.

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