As SAG-AFTRA’s two factions threaten to fracture the guild further – now they’re threatening to see each other – independent presidential candidate Jane Austin has embarked on a campaign to unify the 160,000-member union in advance of next year’s negotiations for a new film and TV contract.
Saying that “the two-party slate system represents an antiquated system that no longer effectively serves the interests of the membership,” Austin now is rolling out her endorsements for board candidates from both parties – incumbent president Gabrielle Carteris’ Unite for Strength slate and challenger Matthew Modine’s Membership First opposition slate. Austin, currently the guild’s national secretary-treasurer, was elected to that post two years ago on the Membership First slate.
“Based on the board candidates’ statements, and my experience working with them, I’ve chosen to support these specific candidates no matter what slate they’re on because I know that they share the qualities I would want in the board room, open minds, positive approaches and informed opinions and suggestions,” Austin said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re Membership First, Unite for Strength or independent, I support people with the best ideas on how to best serve the entire membership. It’s not about ‘block voting’ or ‘party voting.’ It’s about how are we going to work collectively so our members can trust that we are all on the same side here, that we are all truly in solidarity. That’s how I plan to lead when elected.”
From the Membership First slate, she’s endorsed Elliot Gould, Jennifer Beals, Debbie Evans and Jonathan Taylor Thomas for the national board, and from the Unite for Strength slate, Lisa Vidal, Yvette Nicole Brown, Tom Choi, and Adam Goldberg. She’s also endorsing independent candidates Peter Deyell, Edwin Garcia II, Henry Kingi, Jr., Kurt Lott and Rick Markman for the national board.
In the LA local board race, she’s backing Membership First candidates:
Jonathan Taylor Thomas
Michelle Jubilee Gonzalez
Donna Lynn Leavy
From the UFS slate, she’s backing:
Katie Von Till
Katie Von Till
She’s also endorsing independent candidates Dennis Depew, Peter Deyell, Ben Dukes, Edwin Garcia II 2 Henry Kingi, Jr. and Rick Markman for the local board.