SAG-AFTRA is cutting its workforce for the third time this year due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which will leave it with about 400 employees.

The performers union announced the cuts Thursday, explaining that the reductions in workforce are taking place across most operations and locals which will include a combination of early retirements and position eliminations. A representative said about 45 slots were cut. The number of employees prior to the crisis was about 600.

National Executive Director David P. White said, “Someday, this crisis will end. For now, with cases spiking across the country and a second global surge possible this winter, we must take steps to further align expenses with anticipated revenues. Adjusting our staff size is difficult and painful, but unavoidable. I thank each and every person for their service and dedication to SAG-AFTRA members. We will continue to maximize all of our resources and deliver on our core functions while maintaining excellent service to members and move toward a leaner and more efficient operation.”

The national board of the union, which represents 160,000 members, has approved a modification and extension to the current dues relief program for the November semi-annual dues period under which members in financial distress can request – either online or by checking a box on their November dues bill – an extension of the due date for payment of dues and an installment plan for those payments. There will also be a waiver of late fees for this dues period.

SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said, “We must act wisely and prudently to ensure a strong union while remaining a fierce and steadfast advocate for our members who also are facing COVID-19 related challenges. Our work over the last decade resulted in responsible fiscal management and consistent budget surpluses. Because of those surpluses, and with additional expense management, we are positioned to withstand the pandemic and serve our members for generations to come.”

Members must pay each of the two installment payments by the due dates of Jan. 4, 2021 and April 2, 2021. Late fees will not resume until May 2021.

SAG-AFTRA first announced the dues relief program in late March. Each member pays base dues of $218.60 annually ($109.30 every six months). In addition, members pay work dues of 1.575% of all covered earnings up to $500,000, based on earnings in the previous calendar year. Dues are usually payable twice each year, May 1 and Nov. 1.