Got this note from my former improv coach:
I know you’re the one to ask. What’s up with the Aftra-Sag merger? Why is everyone begging us to vote no? Will there really be no pension or health benefits?
Hope you’re well.
I’ve been struggling to keep my sanity around the SAG-AFTRA noise, but I couldn’t contain it anymore. So I replied with the following rant:
Good to hear from you.
I don’t personally know anyone who’s against the merger. I’m for it, everyone (and every working actor) I know is for it. So who is telling you to vote no? Do they have good, solid, factual reasons for doing so? If they do, I’d like to hear them.
I’ve found that all the materials SAG-AFTRA have presented do answer the questions and issues presented by the non-merger people. Which I believe are…
Pension and Health?
Federally protected for those who have been vested. Nothing changes. Nothing. And post merger, those of us who aren’t vested and who struggle to barely make either pool, can now work towards ONE pool and actually get reasonably close to qualifying for those benefits. What a concept.
Not enough research on how to merge the two guilds?
An impossible bar for any company to make. It’s a subjective request that even if entertained, will satisfy no one. Imagine shareholders and workers wanting approval on every aspect when their company buys another business property. Ridiculous. No one has a crystal ball, not even the best market researchers. It’s a stall tactic.
All those AFRTA people (eeewwww gross) getting in the “actors” union?
1. Who cares? 2. More members increase income and the power we’d have as one union. Better for all, right? And 3. one can’t argue that SAG actors are of a higher caliber. Ever meet a background actor with three vouchers? Yeah. Delightful, aren’t they? Just shelling out the money to be in a union is enough of a challenge for most. Paying $1000 to $2000 means that person is serious about being a guild member, which is all you can really ask.
So… Long story short, I just don’t get the anti-merger folks. My best guess is that it might be mix of leftover SAG arrogance, fear of change, or those thinking their p&h will change (which it doesn’t if you’re vested), or maybe a few non-working actors with nothing better to do.
I sincerely hope we merge, because the status quo is unsustainable.
Again, I would like to hear rational, factual arguments against merger. Let me know if you hear any.
I think what I really wanted to say was “there are way too many stupid people in sag and aftra,” but it may be too much to expect actors to have college degrees, or a basic understanding of business, and be able to deliver a convincing performance as ‘man in background on park bench.’
And she just responded with this today:
Thanks for your reply
You won’t believe it, but Ed Asner did a 6 minute piece on youtube (?) begging everyone not to vote for it. It would be the end of SAG as we know it. It would destroy us. Now, I’ve always adored Ed. I was more than taken aback when I saw this. Wish I could remember where exactly I did see it. There were a couple of other names he bandied about (can’t remember them) but they were impressive.
Still, after reading what you sent, I will vote YES and have faith that everything will fall into place after a while.
Really, Ed Asner? Really?!