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SAG-AFTRA merger means some union dues will rise as others fall

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The proposed merger between the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists will bring higher dues for some actors and lower dues for others, depending on which labor group they already belong to before the marriage.

SAG members will see as much as a 15% decrease in so-called working dues, which are calculated as a percentage of a member’s earnings. AFTRA-only members will see their working dues increase by up to 6%, according to a board member who asked not to be identified because the plans are confidential.

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Additionally, base dues -- the dues that actors pay for simply being a member of the union -- will increase substantially, to nearly $200 from about $120 a year. However, the nearly 50,000 members who already belong to both unions will see a decline in total fees after the merger, because they will be paying dues to one organization instead of two.

Currently, SAG members pay higher percentages and have higher caps on their incomes than their counterparts at AFTRA. The proposed dues change is intended to reduce the gap.

SAG has about 125,000 members while AFTRA claims 70,000 members. The proposed dues changes are part of a merger agreement reached last week and reviewed by board members from SAG and AFTRA on Sunday. The boards of SAG and AFTRA are scheduled to vote on the proposed merger of the unions next weekend.

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-- Richard Verrier


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