Things are about to get leaner at the thespian union. Approximately 15% of SAG-AFTRA’s 600 staff members will be heading out the door in the next few days. About 80 union employees have taken buyouts. A few of those who are leaving as full time employees will be staying for a while as short-term consultants. Deadline has learned that those leaving come equally from both the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists parts of the recently united union. “When you bring together two staffs with similar responsibilities and duties, there is naturally going to be some overlap and redundancy. This program is helping us get our staffing levels right in a way that is respectful and reflects our priorities going forward. It’s only one piece of the continuing integration of our merged union,” said the union’s National Executive Director David White today. White should know about such overlap. Just one month after the unions voted on March 30 to become one, former AFTRA director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth stepped down from the Co-National Executive Director position she had started sharing with White. Signing a new three-year contract, White formally became the union’s sole Executive Director in late May.
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