The first major test for the leadership of the newly merged SAG-AFTRA union is now underway. The union leadership has reached a tentative deal over work in commercials with ad industry representatives. Details have not been released pending approval by the union’s bloated new board of directors upon which now sit some 160 union members. If the deal is approved by the board at its meeting on April 20-21 it will be sent to the 160,000 rank and file members of the union for ratification.
Union president Roberta Reardon, former head of AFTRA, has said she is pleased with the new terms. SAG-AFTRA staff head David White recently said on the first anniversary of the merger of SAG and AFTRA that the “landscape” had shifted. Presumably this means the union has been able to increase its leverage to lead to greater concrete gains for its members. Once terms of the commercials contract are made public the union membership will be able to decide if, in fact, that has been the case.