It’s Election Day at SAG-AFTRA and Candidates Night at the WGA. Ballots will be counted this evening in the SAG-AFTRA election and will go out to WGA members Thursday. There’s been a lot of bad blood among the factions at each union, with accusations flying from all directions. Incumbents at both unions have urged their members to stay the course, while challengers argue that new leadership is needed to tackle the challenges ahead.
But when the voting’s over, members of both unions will be asked to reunite in advance of the film and TV contract negotiations each union will be facing next year with management’s Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. The future of their residuals, pensions and health benefits – their very livelihoods – might depend on it. And at the WGA, the relationship between writers and their agents hangs in the balance.
That spirit of solidarity in the wake of a hard-fought election was expressed today by Membership First, the SAG-AFTRA faction headed by presidential candidate Matthew Modine.
Here is his team’s message to members today:
“Election Day is here, and no matter what the outcome, no matter how the membership decides, we are all winners. Within the election noise, where the message gets muddied and the details get distracted, we come back to what’s most important – you.
“As unionists. We come back to what’s most important – the membership. As brothers and sisters. We come back to what’s most important – solidarity, in the face of apathetic odds, where the work continues anew, where we recommit to doing what’s right, what’s fair, what makes the most common professional sense for all of us.
“Together. We come back to what’s most important to Membership First – artists united in transparency for all the members to see, who believe in the collective power of having each other’s backs; for in the work we find what matters, in each other we find our truth.
“And no matter what the election’s outcome, we can’t thank you enough – for joining us on this journey, for your day-to-day diligence and unwavering support, for your stick-to-it steadfastness and generosity of time, donations and spirit; for believing that the union can make a difference – and that what we do, as unionists, does make a difference – for all of us.
“Whatever the outcome, stay focused, remain committed – for the work to form a more perfect union continues.”
It’s a sentiment that the leaders of both unions – no matter who wins – are expected to embrace when the final votes are counted.
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