Los Angeles, (August 4, 2010) – Seeking to extend its majority coalition on SAG’s National Board of Directors, Unite for Strength today announced its slate of 35 candidates running for election to the SAG National and Hollywood Division Boards. In addition to 15 incumbent Hollywood Board members, the UFS slate features numerous first-time candidates, including veteran actor Ron Perlman and noted comedian/actor Jeff Garlin.

“I’m inspired by our candidates,” said SAG President Ken Howard, who was elected on the Unite for Strength ticket in 2009. “These are smart, dedicated SAG members who are passionate about protecting actors. They represent the diversity of our membership and I know they’ll be terrific leaders if elected.”

Referring to the joint TV/Theatrical-Exhibit A Contract talks set to begin September 27, Jeff Garlin said, “Thanks to Ken and UFS, SAG and AFTRA have teamed up to negotiate the TV and Film Contracts, putting us in a much stronger position than last time, when we were divided. It’s hard to believe nearly a quarter of SAG’s board wanted to negotiate separately again, but the key to staying strong is to elect more board members who see the importance of working together. That’s why I’m running.”

Ron Perlman added “I became a professional actor in 1973. I’ve done just about every type of work possible in this business and it’s never made sense that my jobs were covered by separate unions. With digital video fast becoming the state of the art in filmmaking, splitting work between SAG and AFTRA goes way beyond senseless; it is unacceptable. The only ones who benefit from that division are our employers and we have to put a stop to it. Performers deserve one union that covers all their work, period – and I’m running for the SAG board to help make it happen.”

Unite for Strength was formed in 2008 after then Guild President Alan Rosenberg and his Membership First allies repeatedly attacked AFTRA, leading to the breakdown of joint bargaining and a subsequent SAG contract stalemate. In response, UFS ran its first slate of board candidates in September 2008, successfully taking control of SAG’s National Board with a coalition of board members from across the country. In 2009, running on a platform of strengthening ties with AFTRA, the group won a majority of contested board seats and elected Ken Howard as SAG President and Amy Aquino as the Guild’s Secretary-Treasurer.

This year, Unite for Strength was instrumental in reviving SAG’s historic bargaining partnership with AFTRA. The group also made progress toward its goal of permanently uniting SAG and AFTRA as a single performers’ union when Ken Howard and AFTRA President Roberta Reardon established The Presidents’ Forum for One Union. Candidate and UFS co-founder Ned Vaughn noted, “Recent history has proven that competing with ourselves is a terrible mistake. Actors are facing serious challenges ahead and we need to be as strong and united as possible to protect our livelihoods – that means one union for all of us. The President’s Forum is a crucial step in that direction and I’m excited to be part of it.”

Ballots will be mailed to SAG Hollywood Division members on August 24, 2010. Ballots are due and results will be tabulated on September 23, 2010.

The candidates running on the Unite for Strength slate are:

Michelle Allsopp, Scotty Caldwell, Gabrielle Carteris, William Charlton, Assaf Cohen, Mimi Cozzens, Ellen Crawford, Bertila Damas, Patrick Fabian, Jeff Garlin, Jason George, Clark Gregg, Jon Huertas, Sam Jaeger, Clyde Kusatsu, Christine Lakin, Dawnn Lewis, Donal Logue, Gilles Marini, D.W. Moffett, Marisol Nichols, Jenny O’Hara, Michael O’Keefe, Michael O’Neill, Conrad Palmisano, Ron Perlman, Tara Radcliffe, Dileep Rao, Sarayu Rao, Woody Schultz, Bill Smitrovich, Mandy Steckelberg, Marcia Strassman, Stacey Travis, Ned Vaughn.

For more information, visit http://www.uniteforstrength.com