EXCLUSIVE: Crystal Hopkins has been elected president of IATSE Local 871, and her slate of running mates has swept the crafts union’s officer elections. Hopkins, an art department coordinator, defeated Doug Boney, the local’s vice president, receiving 227 votes to his 163. Turnout was dismal, with only about 11% of eligible members casting ballots.
The election marks a sea change for the local and could spell trouble for Leslie Simon, the local’s salaried business rep, whose contract is up in June. Boney and his defeated slate – many of whom were incumbents – were strong supporters of Simon and endorsed her sucessful bid for re-election as an IATSE delegate, in which she finished 10th. Hopkins’ slate didn’t endorse her. Hopkins also has been a vocal opponent of the new IATSE film and TV contract, while Boney and Simon had recommended its ratification.
Marisa Shipley, Hopkins’ vice presidential running mate, also was elected. Shipley chairs the local’s pay equity campaign, which seeks to raise the salaries of those employed in Hollywood’s historically female crafts.
Hopkins and her slate got a big boost during the election from the local’s outgoing president, Dawn Gilliam, who urged members to throw out all her fellow incumbents. Gilliam, still popular with the members, was elected as an IATSE delegate, finishing third behind Hopkins and Shipley.
Read the breakdown of all the votes here.
Also from the Hopkins slate, Kirby Carl Fortenberry III was elected treasurer, Elizabeth Seaford was elected secretary, and Susan Lowitz was elected sergeant-at-arms. Candidates on her slate also won seven of 10 seats on the board of directors, all five seats on the board of trustees and most of the 21 delegate positions. Boney did manage to win a seat on the board and a delegate seat, finishing eighth in both races.
During the campaign, Hopkins charged that Boney had a “conflict of interest” that makes him “unable to be a full-time representative of our local” because he is also the business rep of IATSE Studio Teachers Local 884. “This means that when he presents himself at IATSE conventions, delegations and the like, his main priority will have to be as an employee of Local 884, not as the voluntary president of Local 871,” she told Deadline. Boney claimed that her “vague and inaccurate statement may be due to her lack of experience in union governance.”
But she’ll be getting plenty of that experience now. “Things will not change overnight,” she said in her campaign statement. “That’s not how democracy or unions work. However, just because they haven’t doesn’t mean they can’t. The deep changes we still need are long roads that have to be navigated – those that have come before me have paved the way here, and those that will come after me will add miles of their own blacktop to what we leave behind us. As it should be. I believe that leadership should come from a place of transparency. And I will lead from there. Transparency from the Board to the members is a good, and much needed, start. A seat at the table is a responsibility, and a promise, to follow the voice of the membership. To listen to what is asked of us and, in turn, do what is required.”