Two working groups of the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Radio & Television Artists convened over the weekend to start hammering out the details of their planned merger.
The actors, broadcasters and singers held their first meeting at the National Labor College in the Washington suburb of Silver Spring, Md., over the weekend. In their first face-to-face meeting they worked toward a January 2012 deadline -- set by both unions' boards -- for an agreement, new constitution, and union dues structure.
The organizations are working in subgroups to deal with issues including pension, health and retirement benefits, collective bargaining and governance.
The SAG and AFTRA national boards voted last month to start the merger process, with a representative saying their consolidation was in part a response to a consolidating industry.
The next meeting is scheduled for Aug. 27-28 in New York.
Together the unions represent almost 200,000 broadcast and film actors and performers.