By the mid-1950s, both SAG and AFTRA had been successful in negotiating residuals for TV programs re-runs.
But in 1960, what SAG officials feared a decade earlier became reality. Actors still didn’t receive a dime for films made by major motion picture studios when those films were licensed to television networks.
On March 7, 1960, Guild members, by an 83 percent vote, approved a strike. The fight was a difficult one and, as the weeks passed, the strike took a serious toll on both sides. Finally, a compromise was reached. The Guild agreed to forego residual payments on films made prior to 1960. In return, producers agreed to pay residuals on all films made in 1960 and afterward, and the Guild accepted a payment of $2.25 million to form a pension and health plan.
SAG and AFTRA members have been collecting residuals ever since.
In 1974, AFTRA and SAG members jointly negotiated the contract covering primetime dramatic programming on the major television networks for the first time.
And in the 1980 negotiations, SAG and AFTRA members went on strike to get supplemental market residuals from sales in videocassettes and pay TV.
While a merger of AFTRA and SAG has been proposed and considered many times since 1937, the two unions enter into a formal agreement to join together to benefit performers. The so-called “Phase 1” Agreement went into effect in 1981, calling for a number of jointly-negotiated, ratified, and administered contracts.
And on March 30, 2012, SAG and AFTRA members became part of the new, merged SAG-AFTRA.