The proposed merger of the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists could be derailed by concerns by one SAG pension plan management trustee about merging the two unions' pension funds.
In a confidential memo leaked to the press, Sheldon Kasdan, vice president and senior labor counsel for Vivendi Universal Entertainment, Universal City, Calif., and a trustee of the Screen Actors Guild-Producers Pension and Health Plans, expressed concern that SAG would end up subsidizing AFTRA if the benefit plans were merged.
Because of his memo, the SAG-Producer's board is reportedly studying the issue.
After news of the memo broke, Melissa Gilbert, president of SAG, Los Angeles, and John Connolly, president of AFTRA, New York, issued a statement saying the memo represented "a clear indication of what we have known all along: there will be employer resistance to consolidation because consolidation strengthens our members. United SAG and AFTRA will give actors, broadcasters and recording artists greater power at the bargaining table. Combining our health and pension plans will strengthen benefits for members of both unions."