SAG-AFTRA Closes Kansas City Office | KCUR

SAG-AFTRA Closes Kansas City Office

May 9, 2013

The labor union representing film, television and radio actors, announcers, and newscasters plans to close its Kansas City office.

On April 21, the national board of the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) approved a plan to consolidate and close 10 of its 25 offices nationwide, including the one in Kansas City, Mo. The board announced 60 jobs across the country would be eliminated, starting in early May.

This marks the second round of layoffs since the two unions merged in March 2012.

According to a release, the union plans to "refocus its geographic footprint" with offices in 15 markets. This includes:

eight major markets, and seven broadcast/emerging markets that together represent over 93 percent of the union’s membership.  The eight major markets are Los Angeles, New York, Washington-Mid Atlantic, Chicago, San Francisco, New England, Philadelphia, and Miami. The seven broadcast/emerging markets are Dallas-Ft. Worth, Seattle, Atlanta, Nashville, Hawaii, Ohio-Pittsburgh and Missouri Valley. The geographic restructuring process will take place over the next several months. 

The plan calls for the creation of a member review committee that will work with the professional staff to review the impact of the transition and report back to the Board in April 2014.

The Missouri Valley local previously included three offices in St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri and Omaha, Nebraska.  The SAG-AFTRA operations will now be consolidated in St. Louis.

"It's certainly a loss for us. We've had a brick-and-mortar office for decades," says Kansas City actor Dean Vivian who sits on the joint governing board of SAG-AFTRA. "But, frankly, the markets are changing and resources are getting tight. Plus, it's much easier to do things from a distance than it used to be." 

Vivian, who's also a member of Actors' Equity Association, the union representing live theatrical performance, points out that Kansas City Equity actors are "serviced" by the regional office in Chicago.

"In ways, it's fairly familiar to what union members, particularly on the freelance side, have dealt with with their other unions. It's not unusual at all," says Vivian. "SAG has never had an office in Kansas City."