THE BLOG

SAG Moderates Win Presidency, Secretary and Additional Seats

11/24/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Jonathan Handel Entertainment/Technology Attorney, TroyGould & Contributing Editor, The Hollywood Reporter (jhandel.com)

In a victory for the SAG moderate coalition (Unite for Strength/USAN/independents), the UFS candidates for president, Ken Howard, and secretary, Amy Aquino, won the union's national offices.

However, the election was close: Howard's total was slightly less than the two hardline candidates added together (Anne-Marie Johnson and Seymour Cassel) and Aquino's was slightly more than that of incumbent Connie Stevens. So the union is still very divided, and Howard acknowledged that the results were not a landslide and that the union is very divided, while saying that he planned to reach out to MF supporters.

On the national board, the moderates showed strength as well: They picked up 4 of 11 seats in Hollywood and held all of the NY and regional (RBD) seats. I estimate that this brings the moderate's board majority to around 60%, vs. 40% for MF, but that's a very rough calculation and I'm not sure at this point.

On the Hollywood board, the results were more dramatic: 21 of 33 Hollywood board seats went to the moderates. Added to the 6 they (and independents) already control, that's 27 out of 55 - just shy of 50%.

UFS spokesman Ned Vaughn said he expected to see SAG and AFTRA jointly negotiating wih the studios next year. Howard said he'd reach out to AFTRA and the other guids. On the subject of merger with AFTRA, Howard disputed claims from 6 years ago that merger would hurt SAG members' pensions.

The challenge for the moderates is to build a record of accomplishment, hire David White on a permanent basis, build relations with AFTRA and other guilds/unions, pick up more seats in next years' July-Sept elections, then go into negotiations with the studios Oct. 1 (2010, i.e., next year). After that - work on merger. A tough road ahead.
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SAG Press Release:

KEN HOWARD ELECTED AS SCREEN ACTORS GUILD PRESIDENT; AMY AQUINO ELECTED AS SECRETARY-TREASURER

Guild Also Announces Results of National Board Elections

Los Angeles (September 24, 2009)--Screen Actors Guild today announced results of elections for its top two elected positions. Ken Howard will serve as Screen Actors Guild president and Amy Aquino will serve as secretary-treasurer. Both will serve two-year terms beginning September 25.

Ballots were mailed to 99,485 paid-up SAG members on August 25, and 27,295 were tabulated today, for a return of 27.44 percent. Presidential candidates Ken Howard received 12,895 votes, with Anne-Marie Johnson coming in second with 8,906 votes, Seymour Cassel got 4,838 votes, and Asmar Muhammad received 402 votes.

"I'd like to be among the first to extend my heartfelt congratulations to our newly elected Screen Actors Guild national leadership. I look forward to working closely with our new president, Ken Howard, and new secretary-treasurer, Amy Aquino, as we focus on the wide range of critical issues facing our members in the coming year," said SAG Interim National Executive Director David White. "I also extend my thanks, and the gratitude of SAG members and staff to Alan Rosenberg and Connie Stevens for their service and sacrifice on behalf of our union."

"I am deeply honored to be chosen by the membership to lead the Screen Actors Guild," said Ken Howard. "I campaigned on the promise that I'd do everything in my power to strengthen our position at the bargaining table by building a greater unity with AFTRA and the other entertainment unions, and that's exactly what I intend to do. Despite the sharp differences that those of us active in Guild affairs sometimes have over strategy and tactics, we need to continually remind ourselves that we're all on the same team, fighting for the same thing -- and by pulling together, we'll only grow stronger."

"I am truly honored that the members have entrusted me with this responsibility," said Amy Aquino. "Progress has already been made toward strengthening SAG's finances and I want to make sure it continues. Only by fortifying SAG in this way can we hope to ensure the protections that performers need in these challenging times."

Screen Actors Guild also announced election results for the National Board of Directors. Twenty-two of the 69 national board seats were open for election this year, representing Screen Actors Guild's Hollywood, New York and Regional Branch divisions.

"It is my privilege to welcome and congratulate our newly elected Screen Actors Guild National Board of Directors for 2009-2010," said White. "Along with our staff nationwide, I look forward to working with them to pursue a robust agenda as we navigate the Guild through these changing times."

The National Board members elected today will assume office on September 25 for terms of three years.

SAG's Hollywood Division elected eleven National Board members; the New York Division elected four National Board members; and seven National Board members were elected from the union's branches in Chicago, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Philadelphia, Portland and San Diego.

National Board members elected from the Hollywood Division: Martin Sheen, Ed Harris, Elliott Gould, Ed Asner, Anne-Marie Johnson, Connie Stevens, Diane Ladd, Dulé Hill, Hill Harper, Nancy Travis, and Marcia Wallace (all three-year terms).

The following were elected to serve as National Board alternates and to the Hollywood Division Board of Directors (all one-year terms). Gabrielle Carteris, Jenny O'Hara, Michael O'Keefe, Clyde Kusatsu, Dawnn Lewis, Doug Savant, Michelle Allsopp, Alan Rosenberg, D. W. Moffett, Joe Bologna, Robert Hays, Jason George, L. Scott Caldwell, Clark Gregg, Patrick Fabian, Bill Smitrovich, Ellen Crawford, Stacey Travis, Mandy Steckelberg, Renee Taylor, Bernie Casey and John Carroll Lynch.

National Board members elected from the New York Division: Sharon Washington, Monica Trombetta, Sam Freed and Liz Zazzi (all three-year terms). Additionally, New York Division members elected Mike Hodge as NY Division President.

The following were elected to serve as national board alternates and to the New York Division board of directors (all one-year terms.) Manny Alfaro, Sheila Head, Marc Baron, Joe Narciso, Jay Potter, Dave Bachman, John Rothman, Kevin Scullin and Justin Barrett.

National Board members elected from the Regional Branch Division: John Carter Brown (Chicago - three-year term), David Hartley-Margolin (Colorado - three-year term), Dave Corey (Florida - three-year term), Scott Rogers (Hawaii - three-year term), Helen McNutt (Philadelphia - three-year term), Mary McDonald-Lewis (Portland - three-year term), Don Ahles (San Diego - three-year term).

Ballots for all eligible SAG members in Hollywood and New York were mailed on August 25 with a September 24 return deadline and were tabulated today by the independent election company Integrity Voting Systems. A total of 13,718 ballots were tabulated in the Hollywood Division (representing 25.25 percent of ballots mailed in the Hollywood Division) and 5,997 ballots were tabulated in the New York Division (representing 26.11 percent of ballots mailed in the New York Division). The number of ballots returned in the Regional Branch elections varied by region.

For complete results, please visit SAG.org.