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SAG Members File Lawsuit Against Screen Actors Guild


HOLLYWOOD, Calif., Feb. 22, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A significant number of Screen Actors Guild members filed a lawsuit today asking the court for a preliminary and permanent injunction to stop SAG from calling for a vote on the proposed merger of SAG and the American Federation of Television & Radio Actors.  The suit asserts that SAG Board has breached its fiduciary duties to conduct an actuarial impact study detailing the effects of the proposed merger on SAG membership pension and health benefits.   

Martin Sheen, Edward Asner, Ed Harris, Valerie Harper, Clancy Brown, James Remar, George Coe, Diane Ladd, Lainie Kazan, Nichelle Nichols, Renee Aubry, Jane Austin, Erick Avari, Steve Barr, Sara Barrett, Terrance Beason, Michael Bell, Warren Berlinger, Joe Bologna, Ralph Brennen, Alexandra Castro, Jude Ciccolella, Cynthia Lea Clark, David Clennon, Joe D'Angerio, Patricia D'Arbanville, Dick Gautier, Dorothy Goulah, Marty Grey, Sumi Haru, Angel Harper, Basil Hoffman, David Huddleston, Anne-Marie Johnson, David Jolliffe, Kerrie Keane, Peter Kwong, Kurt Lott, Barbara Luna, Eric Lutes, Stephen Mach, Michael McConnohie, Peter Antico, Susan McNabb, Phyllis Timbes, Marguerite Moreau, Traci Murray, Nicole Mandich, Larry Newman, Barbara Niven, Kathleen Nolan, Jack Ong, Peggy Lane O'Rourke, Leslie Parrish, Scott Pierce, Robin Riker, Stephanie Rose, Alan Rosenberg, Alan Ruck, Wendy Schaal, Tascha Schaal, Nancy Sinatra, Cynthia Steele, Renee Taylor, Malachi Throne, Beverly Todd, Jessica Wright, Momo Yashimo Plaintiffs vs. Screen Actors Guild, a Labor Union; David White, an Individual; Ken Howard, an Individual; Amy Aquino, an Individual; Ned Vaughn, an Individual; Mike Hodge, an Individual; David Hartley-Margolin, an Individual; and Does 1 – 10, Defendants (Case # CV12-1468), was filed today in United States District Court, Central District of California.

"We have spent almost two months negotiating with SAG in an effort to get them to present the truth regarding this merger plan.  Member are entitled to full disclosure, not half truths and misleading and unsupported promises," said David B. Casselman of the Los Angeles law firm Wasserman, Comden, Casselman & Esensten, LLP. "They have done nothing of substance to support their claims that the proposed merger will protect SAG member benefits.  The average SAG member makes less than $10,000 per year.  They need to know that all necessary due diligence was done to protect them."

Since Sept. 15, 1981, the SAG Constitution has recognized that careful study of any SAG-AFTRA merger plan would be necessary "to satisfy the requirements of law and the protection of all eligible members against the loss of benefits, presently or in the future" (Appendix 1).

The SAG board voted on Jan. 28, 2012 to approve the proposed merger plan and to submit it to a vote of the membership. On Jan. 29, 2012, the presidents of SAG and AFTRA announced on national television at the SAG Awards that the "historic step" of merger was about to be realized.

"We believe the defendants made this announcement in order to thoroughly saturate the media with pro-merger propaganda, avoiding any balancing information which would allow SAG members to intelligently evaluate the issues prior to voting," says Casselman.

"If an uninformed membership approves this merger, and then we all learn that it will have crippling, negative effects, it will be too late for anything to be done to return SAG or its current pension and health plans back to their current status," says Casselman.

CONTACT: Geri Wilson
The Jonathan Group
626.487.2235 (24/7)

SOURCE Wasserman, Comden, Casselman & Esensten, LLP

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