Judge Rejects Sag Dissidents' Arguments; Merger Vote To Go Ahead
Rejecting arguments from a dissident group of Screen Actors Guild members led by Martin Sheen and Ed Harris, a federal judge on Wednesday permitted a vote on the merger of SAG and the American Federation of Television Artists to go forward. In his opinion, U.S. District Judge James Otero said, "Voting in favor of merger may or may not be in the best interest of the majority of union members...But the decision, for better or worse, belongs to the members, not to plaintiffs and certainly not to the court.'' Opponents of the merger had argued that members were not being provided with sufficient information to determine how their pension and welfare benefits might be affected by the merger. But Judge Otero dismissed the argument, writing, "Judicial interference with the members' right to decide whether they would like to proceed with merger despite the lack of concrete information about benefits would not serve this public policy."