UPDATE, 7:45PM: EXCLUSIVE: SAG-AFTRA Executive Director David White may be a candidate to head up the NBA players union, but he’s still got a big supporter in the head of the Hollywood union. “Just as it was with their opposition to merger, MembershipFirst remains out of touch with members,” SAG-AFTRA president Ken Howard told me tonight of the faction’s slam of White’s potential new gig. “Executives of David White’s caliber are rare, and informed SAG-AFTRA members are thrilled to have David leading the preparations for our upcoming contract talks,” Howard added. The SAG-AFTRA chief gave no indication of what the union’s plan would be if White got the NBA players union job. However, with SAG-AFTRA still in its mandated wages and working condition consultation with members and likely weeks away from even setting a start date for its talks with the studios and networks over a new three year contract, the union has time to regroup as it heads into the first such negotiations since its spring 2012 merger.
PREVIOUS, 7:20PM: The MembershipFirst faction opposed the merger of SAG and AFTRA two years ago and came up short in the united SAG-AFTRA’s first national election last year. Now the group is up in arms over the merged union’s National Executive Director being a candidate for the NBA players union’s top job. David White said last week that he is in contention to become Executive Director of the National Basketball Players Association, and MembershipFirst issued a statement today ripping him for it. “David White was one of the main architects of the systematic destruction of one of the most respected unions in the world: The Screen Actors Guild,” the group said. “He used the Guild as a stepping stone to further his profile both financially and professionally, without regard of how his decisions harmed those who paid his lofty salary. Whether he actively petitioned for or was asked to consider the position of the NBPA’s Executive Director, to do so in the midst of SAG-AFTRA’s upcoming TV/theatrical contract negotiations, highlights why we voted against his hiring as SAG’s National Executive Director/Negotiator in 2009. His consideration of another job, specifically at this crucial time, only illustrates his ego-driven disregard for the union and its members. We wish the union well.” White, who was confirmed as NED during the first postmerger SAG-AFTRA meeting in 2012, made no official comment Monday on the MembershipFirst statement.