Monday, June 14, 2010
SAG and AFTRA have been going back and forth on the "merger" thing for some time. It can be easy to wonder why all the controversy - the heating up and cooling off of talks. Just merge and make it more convenient for actors. But it is more then deciding the merged union's name and figuring out how to combine two boards. The two have different requirements to join, different fees and benefits. There are actors who belong to both, and those who belong to one but not the other. Simply put, lots of issues to address. I am for dealing with these issues and merging the unions. Back when an actor either did TV or film, but not both and new media such as webisodes didn't exist, separate acting unions might have made sense. Today, actors are doing both. Series regulars do movies during hiatus. Actors knowing for film work showing up on TV episodes. Films are made out of TV shows shortly after the series wraps. During the recent period of time one of the unions had difficulty agreeing to a contract, most series signed to have actors from the other union cast. For most actors, the biggest issue in what union a series has a contract with is remembering which card to pull out of their wallet. Imagine how much stronger of a bargaining position actors would be in with just one union bargaining with producers instead of two competing for a contract.