Esai Morales has announced that he’s running for president of SAG-AFTRA. He will be joined on the Membership First ticket by Jane Austin, who is running for re-election as national secretary-treasurer. This will be Morales’ second run for the presidency; he was defeated by Ken Howard in 2013.
SAG-AFTRA president Gabriella Carteris hasn’t announced yet, but is expected to seek re-election. Peter Antico has also announced that’s he’s running for the presidency.
“One of my key strengths is as a peace-maker,” Morales told Deadline today on location in Puerto Rico, where he’s playing the island’s governor in Imprisoned, “and I’d like to apply that to our entire membership. We’ve had a history of hurt feelings and being divided, and it’s time for people to be more unified.”
In that spirit, he said, he won’t be campaigning until after the union’s ongoing film and TV contract talks are over – sometime in July.
“We are specifically announcing our candidacy today but are not going to do any campaigning that could be construed as attacking the other side,” he said. “We’re in the midst of this crucial film and TV negotiations with our esteemed industry partners. So at this time, we feel that politicking and campaigning would undermine the solidarity of our union and is inappropriate right now. We are offering out negotiating team unconditional support.”
“I’m delighted to be running with Esai,” Austin said. “He is truly a bridge builder. At this time, he will be the best possible person to preside over the union.”
Austin said that as a national officer and as president of the union’s LA local, she has a “unique perspective” on the needs of members. “Hearing the members’ needs and communicating the to our the national staff is paramount to the success of our members.”