What is SAG-AFTRA?
(By Tonya Tannenbaum)
(Photo: Andrea Piacquadio | Pexels)
SAG-AFTRA is an American labor union that represents actors, particularly in the areas of film and television. Additionally, the union represents other types of artists, including radio personalities, dancers, broadcast journalists, disc jockeys and influencers.
The acronym SAG stands for Screen Actors Guild. Screen Actors Guild was founded in 1933 to protect and defend actors from what was perceived to be exploitation by major studios in Hollywood.
That exploitation involved actors being forced into contracts that they were unable to get out of. The contracts often came with poor working conditions, such as having no minimum break periods or maximum work hours for the actors.
The union that eventually became AFTRA originated in the 1930’s, with two unions first beginning separately as Radio Artists Guild and Radio Equity. On August 16, 1937, both Radio Equity and Radio Actors Guild were supplanted by the American Federation of Radio Artists (AFRA).
On March 30, 2012, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) merged.
AFRA later merged with the Television Authority in 1952 to form the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists (AFTRA).
On March 30, 2012, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) merged. The merger was formed, in part, as a way to ease the conflict and confusion for actors who, for example, might have qualified for benefits under one union but not the other.
Today, SAG-AFTRA boasts a total membership of over 160,000 members
It also removed the need for the two unions to make adversarial decisions against one another. The merger of the two unions created the largest actor union in the US, SAG-AFTRA.
SAG-AFTRA now boasts a total membership of over 160,000 members. This includes over 80,000 inactive members (members who have been suspended or who have withdrawn).
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