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April 8, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Screen Actors Guild President Ken Howard has welcomed an initiative by the leadership of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists to begin the process of uniting the two unions. AFTRA, which has called for such a merger in the past, had voluntarily imposed a cooling-off period following last year’s labor turmoil, during which it was denounced by SAG’s more militant Membership First faction that at the time dominated its leadership. In a statement, Howard, who campaigned for the top post as part of the union’s Unite for Strength faction, said, “Joining SAG and AFTRA to create a single union is essential to performers maximizing their power. It’s undoubtedly an idea whose time has come.” However, in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Anne-Marie Johnson, a member of Membership First, who ran against Howard last year, called the merger proposal “extremely premature.”