Members of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of
Radio and Television Artists, many of whom live and work in Burbank,
have yet to reach agreement on the proposed merger of the two unions.
More than 44,000 people belong to both unions, with SAG
representing film, TV and commercial actors and AFTRA representing
game show performers, soap opera actors, newscasters and some
The proposed umbrella union would be called the Alliance of
International Media Artists, and would represent nearly 150,000
actors, recording artists and broadcasters.
SAG rates run $655 daily, while AFTRA pays between $305 and $655
for prime-time day rates.
Proponents of the merger say it would increase bargaining power
because all actors and performers would be in a single union, and
producers would bargain with a single entity.
Not so, said Terrence Beasor, a screen actor and voice-over
performer who has been featured in productions shot at each of the
major Burbank studios."If we merge, the producer is [still] going to
come looking for that lower rate,” Beasor said.But actor and Burbank
resident Joseph Di Sante believes the merger means members “will have
one voice bargaining as opposed to two entities.” Di Sante firmly
believes the consolidation of the two groups will help settle rate
Supporters also say that SAG and AFTRA, both of which operate with
a deficit, could save money by consolidating their administrative
functions and sharing some overall member services, SAG spokeswoman
Ilyanne Kichaven said.
“I believe if they don’t get control of the costs of running both
unions separately they will fold,” Di Sante said. “The conglomerates
are sitting and waiting for this to happen. Because then they could
dictate the terms of whatever they want to pay.”
Beasor, meanwhile cited other concerns about a merger, including
the prospect of reductions to health and pension benefits, and the
possibility of losing voting rights in the proposed umbrella
Ballots will be sent to members Monday, and must be returned by