Will the SAG-AFTRA Merger Happen This Time?

Macbeth: If we should fail?
Lady Macbeth: We fail!
But screw your courage to the sticking place,
And we’ll not fail.
—”Macbeth,” Act 1, Scene 7

All this has happened before, and it will all happen again.
—Walt Disney’s “Peter Pan”

The announcement April 30 that the Screen Actors Guild had created a committee charged with forging a plan to merge SAG and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists was important for both unions. It was not, however, a big surprise. Anyone who has paid attention to the two unions for the last two years knows that this process began informally but very much in earnest back in 2009, when Ken Howard was elected SAG president on a pro-merger platform. Last Saturday’s news is only the biggest step toward merger to come before the next big step, which should happen May 14, when AFTRA is expected to announce its own parallel committee. Once those two groups, led by their respective union presidents, sit down in the same room together for the first time, SAG and AFTRA will be officially engaged in talks to create a so-called “successor union” encompassing members of both organizations.

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