LOS ANGELES (AP) — The board of directors of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists has approved a proposed merger with the Screen Actors Guild, a day after SAG's board made the same move.

In a statement, AFTRA says 94 percent of its board voted for the merger Saturday at a videoconference meeting of board members in Los Angeles and New York.

Referendum ballots will now be sent out for a vote by members of both unions. AFTRA leaders say ballots will be mailed in late February and counted in late March.

The merger plan comes after two years of negotiations between the groups to join forces, hoping to gain more leverage in contract negotiations with producers.

AFTRA supported a SAG merger in 1998 and 2003, but the efforts failed.

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