game changer OR too little too late?


The headline screams: “American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and Screen Actors Guild Reach Agreement on Merger Package for Recommendations to SAG and AFTRA National Board of Directors”.

Tip of the hat to Mercedes Rose for the heads up on Facebook.

Read all about it…this merger WOULD impact professional voice over talent in either union or a VO considering joining the new union.

In years past, these two professionally aligned unions couldn’t really get out of each others way in contractual disputes with studios and production companies and finally each other. People have realized for years that there is no need for TWO unions doing basically the same thing. Finally in the most recent elections, those supporting a merger were elected and now it seems, if the plan is ratified by the memberships, it will happen.

Will anybody outside of New York and Los Angeles care?

I’m not asking that in a snide way, I mean it as a real question: Has the non-union train left the station, not only for the people who join the performing unions but for people who hire the talent?

While talent outside of NY and LA question the value of agents to bring them substantial new work, those same people will debate the value proposition of what a union can really offer in calculable ROI for dues memberships. The performing world operates differently than it used to operate.

If this merger goes through (and I would be surprised if it didn’t) the resultant organization will have a LOT of work to do, I think, to encourage non-members to see significant value in becoming a member. It can be done…but that’s going to be a tall wall to climb.

What do you think will happen following a proposed merger?

3 Responses to “game changer OR too little too late?”

  1. I’m hoping it’s not “too little too late”. I’ve been a non-union talent since I started pursuing this business, but I respect the unions and what they’ve worked for and stand for. To date, most of the biggest successful VOs are still union as far as I can tell, and one day soon I wanna be in that number. Here’s hoping two heads are better than one, and the new state of the union will become even stronger and more appealing than ever before!

  2. Hell hath a nice crisp layer of ice on it. Meanwhile, given the proclivity for both unions’ management to engage in internecine warfare, I don’t hold out much hope for real improvement within a combined organization.

  3. A union is only as strong as its members. It has always been like that. Let’s paraphrase JFK by saying:

    “Don’t ask what your union can do for you. Ask what you can do for your union!”