LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The Screen Actors Guild national board of directors has voted to approve a plan to merge with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

In a statement, SAG says the board voted 87 per cent to 13 per cent Friday for the proposed merger at its meeting in Los Angeles.

The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists' board is scheduled to meet Saturday for a vote on the package. If approved, a referendum will be sent out for a vote by members of both unions in the coming weeks.

The merger plan comes after two years of negotiations between the groups to join forces in a bid to gain more leverage in contract negotiations.

The TV and radio artists' group supported a merger with SAG in 1998 and 2003 only to see those efforts fail.

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