History was made in Hollywood today… the better part of a century after their creation, the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists announced they will officially merge.

SAG, founded in 1933, and AFTRA, which was established in 1952, were created to cover different types of media and performances. While SAG focuses on the motion picture field, AFTRA covers radio and Television. Their jurisdictions and directions, however, became unclear with the rise of internet and cable TV.  The newly anointed merger though, should presumably allow both groups to negotiate with networks and Hollywood studios from a position of greater strength.

A little more than 80% of each union approved the merger, more than enough to move things forward for both groups.  The announcement came today at a Beverly Hills press conference that the merger would be effective immediately.  The news was met with venue-filling applause and cheers.  Effected by the coupling are some 150,000+ actors, announcers, broadcasters, journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other media professionals.  A somewhat vocal minority did opposed the merger, but the “yays” had it in the end.

SAG/AFTRA is now SAG-AFTRA ladies and gentlemen… Only time will tell how weighty and sensible this marriage is.

Screen Actors Guild (SAG) National President, Ken Howard, left, and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, (AFTRA) President, Roberta Reardon, shown at podium, announce the merging of their unions.

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