Gabrielle Carteris Re-Elected President of SAG-AFTRA, But “Loyal Opposition” Makes Major Gains In LA

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UPDATE: SAG-AFTRA presidential candidate Matthew Modine has conceded defeat, sort of. The election was marred by some mudslinging from each side, and in a statement Modine appears to be keeping options open if the election is scrutinized.

“I am proud of our campaign for transparency and the goal of uniting all 160,000 members of SAG-AFTRA,” Modine said. “It has been an honor to stand with you. I congratulate all of our MembershipFirst candidates on winning important victories tonight. Each will be instrumental in forming a more perfect union. It appears there has already been a challenge from outside of the political groups with allegations of impropriety and possible Federal election law violations. Therefore, as a matter of principal it is important to withhold judgment until it is determined that the election was held fairly and in compliance with the labor code. If it is determined that the election was run within the election law and union guidelines, I will fully support whomever has been fairly elected.”

EARLIER: Gabrielle Carteris has been re-elected president of SAG-AFTRA, defeating challengers Matthew Modine and Jane Austin. Carteris, who has been president of the guild since 2016, received 13,537 votes to Modine’s 10,683 and Austin’s 5,048.
Carteris won with a plurality of the votes: 44%. Her running mate, Camryn Manheim, defeated Jodi Long, Modine’s running mate, in the election for national secretary-treasurer. A total of 145,692 ballots were mailed, and 30,837 were returned — a return rate of 21.2%.

“I’m very grateful to all of the dedicated SAG-AFTRA members who participated in our union’s elections,” Carteris said. “Their support is humbling and I vow to fight every day on their behalf. We will keep building on our commitment to honesty, transparency and a strategic vision that protects our members, strengthens our contracts, and fortifies our union. I look forward to coming together and working with all of the elected leaders from across the nation. Together, we will continue to build on our successes and further establish SAG-AFTRA as the world’s premier and most powerful entertainment union.”

Two other presidential candidates were also in the race: Queen Alljahye Searles got 1,096 votes and Abraham Justice received 367.

“I am honored to have been elected as our union’s secretary-treasurer and to serve in partnership with Gabrielle Carteris,” Manheim said. “I’m grateful to all the SAG-AFTRA members who participated in this critical election. I’m eager to take on my new responsibilities, and to further protect and strengthen our union. I promise to use my loud voice to represent the needs of all our members.”

But in the union’s LA local races, Modine’s running mates on his Membership First slate clobbered Carteris’ Unite for Strength ticket, which has ruled the union since the merger of SAG and AFTRA in 2012. His teammates won a decisive victory in the Los Angeles local’s officer and board races, shifting the local’s political balance of power to its “loyal opposition.” At the LA local — the union’s largest — Modine was the highest vote-getter in the race for the local’s board of directors, with Carteris also winning a seat on the local board, but finishing a distant 20th.

Modine’s running mates also won the local’s top three posts. Patricia Richardson is the local’s new president, beating out incumbent Jane Austin, who finished second, and Michelle Hurd — Carteris’ running mate — who finished third. Modine’s teammates also won the local’s two vice presidential slots: Frances Fisher will be the new first vp and David Jolliffe will be the new second vp. In the LA local’s election, 73,132 ballots were mailed, but only 12,743 were returned — a rather dismal turnout of only 17.42%.

Modine’s slate also won big in the national board races representing the LA local, winning 13 of the 17 national board seats allotted to the local that were up for grabs. His running mates, in fact, were the top nine vote-getters, led by Jennifer Beals, Ed Asner, Neve Campbell, Patricia Richardson, Elliott Gould, Frances Fisher, Jodi Long, Diane Ladd, and Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Other Membership First candidates elected to the national board include Jolliffe, Joanna Cassidy, Debbie Evans and Lamonte Goode.

Carteris won a national board seat, but finished 14th in the balloting. Austin, who had been the union’s national secretary-treasurer, also won a seat on the national board, running as an independent. The only other Carteris supporters elected to the national board from LA were Manheim and Yvette Nicole Brown.

See all the LA local election results here:

Click to access SAG-AFTRA2019ResultsLA.pdf

In the New York local’s elections, meanwhile, where Unite for Strength still holds sway, Rebecca Damon was elected local president. A staunch Carteris ally, Damon is also the union’s national executive vice president — a post that’s elected at convention.

See the New York local’s election results here:

Click to access SAG-AFTRA2019NEWYORKResults.pdf

Altogether, 45 national board seats were up for election this year, along with all local officer, local board, and convention delegate positions at the guild’s 25 locals. See all the local election results here:

The election was a bruising battle between Modine and Carteris, with each accusing the other of violating federal labor laws – and each hinting that they’d challenge the election of they lost. Modine, however, sounded a more conciliatory note this morning, urging members to unite no matter who won.

When she wasn’t trading accusations with Modine, Carteris campaigned on her record of accomplishments, which include record earnings for the union’s members; a new commercials contract; new agreement with Netflix; organizing Telemundo; confronting sexual harassment in the workplace; a successful end to the nearly one-year strike against the video game industry, and victory in the 10-month strike against the Bartle Bogle Hegarty ad agency.

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