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SAG And AFTRA Members OK Merger;
Entry Rules Stiffen To SAG's Policy

April 1, 2012

Note: Voice Over LEGAL, a new VoiceOverXtra eBook by the author will be published soon, with details and first-hand experiences about performance unions - including Fi-Core (Financial Core). A book preview is available here (and at the link below).

By Robert Sciglimpaglia Jr.
Voice Actor, Actor & Attorney

The long anticipated merger of the two major U.S. performance unions, SAG and AFTRA, became reality on Friday March 30, when the unions announced that more than 80% of members of both SAG and AFTRA had voted to merge the unions into one powerhouse, now called SAG-AFTRA. 

Any member of either union in good standing prior to the announcement is now automatically a member of SAG-AFTRA. 

While a number of voice actors had belonged to both unions, AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) had been the main union for voice actors since its jurisdiction covered more work applicable to voice overs, including television video, audiobooks, radio, voice mail.

SAG (Screen Actors Guild) primarily focused on voice over projects done on film, such as animation.


Going forward, the rules for entry of the new union will mirror the rules that SAG had in place; the new union no longer offers AFTRA's open membership policy.

This means that one will need to work as a principal on a job under a SAG-AFTRA contract in order to join, and pay the new $3,000 initiation fee. 

The AFTRA and SAG health and pension plans will remain separate for the time being until the new officers, scheduled to be elected in the fall, will decide what to do with the plans. 


In addition, a lawsuit brought by opponents to the merger still looms, even though a judge has refused to grant an injunction to stop the merger vote.

The lawsuit is expected to take years to be resolved. However, I do not believe it poses any threat to reversing the merger, given the overwhelming support of the merger by the members. 

Details of the merger vote and other information about the new SAG-AFTRA are available at the organization's new website:


Robert J. Sciglimpaglia Jr. is a busy voice talent, actor and attorney with the firm of Kerin & Canty, in Norwalk, Conn. A frequent speaker at industry events, columnist and feature writer of voice over legal matters, he is also owner of All In One Voice, a voice over instruction and business/legal services firm. And he is author of Voice Over LEGAL, a 100+ page eBook for voice actors to be published soon by VoiceOverXtra.

Voice Over LEGAL eBook Preview:

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