AFTRA retains incumbents

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AFTRA Los Angeles president Ron Morgan and most other incumbents have been retained after several testy board contests in which some candidates with dual SAG affiliations raised Cain over perceived AFTRA slights to SAG.

An AFTRA Leadership slate, supporting current officers and policies of the 70,000-member performers union, faced off against a slate dubbed AFTRA Artists. The latter group, featuring such SAG/AFTRA members as JoBeth Williams, Frances Fisher and Kent McCord -- currently first national vp for SAG -- claimed AFTRA regularly settles for weak contract terms, effectively undermining SAG's ability to negotiate more lucrative pacts.

As it turned out, the upstart slate made only minimal headway.

Of 13 AFTRA Artists candidates to AFTRA's national board, only Farmer, Bonnie Bartlett and incumbent Sumi Haru won seats. None of the slate's three candidates for local board seats were successful.

"The AFTRA Leadership team is very pleased and happy with the election results, and what we think this means is that the membership is pleased with the way things have been going," said Morgan, an actor who ran unopposed for a new two-year term to start July 1. "We need people to understand that we are in favor of increasing our contracts, getting them more money, better terms and conditions. What members are telling us, really clearly, is that they want to work. They want the jobs, and they want the most money they can get."

Morgan also is a member of the AFTRA Los Angeles board and a national vp of the union.

AFTRA and SAG/AFTRA negotiators will iron out eight contracts this year and next, with AFTRA's sound-recording contract currently being negotiated. Morgan declined to discuss the ongoing talks.

About two-thirds of AFTRA membership is comprised of actors and performers, with the balance comprised of broadcasters and recording artists. About 40% of member actors and performers also are members of SAG, AFTRA spokesman John Hinrichs said.

"About 90% of our actor-elected leadership are dual cardholders," Hinrichs added.

That number now includes actor Morgan Fairchild, who successfully ran for the AFTRA's Los Angeles board as part of the AFTRA Leadership slate.

Voting for local board members and vps in New York continues through Friday, with those results to be announced May 29.

AFTRA New York president Roberta Reardon, an actress who has worked in daytime drama, commercials and TV voice-overs, was elected April 28 by the union's national board to serve as AFTRA national president until July.

Reardon replaced acting president and radio host Bob Edwards, who was elevated to the position in March after the long-serving John Connolly resigned to become national executive director of Actors Equity. AFTRA membership will elect a president to a full two-year term in July at the union's national convention in Philadelphia.

Also uncontested in their reelection for the AFTRA Los Angeles board were singer and first vp Susan Boyd Joyce, actor and second vp Lori Alan, dancer and third vp Bobbie Bates, and actor and fourth vp Jason George. Actor Jay Gerber continues as treasurer.

Newly elected to a two-year term as recording secretary was actress Patrika Darbo, replacing Dan Navarro who did not seek reelection but will continue as a member of the AFTRA boards.

Reelected to three-year terms on the Los Angeles board were actors Lori Alan, Audrey Baranishyn, Matthew Kimbrough and Bill Ratner; announcer John Harlan; dancer Sharon Ferguson; broadcasters Furnell Chatman and David Horowitz; singers Jon Joyce and Dan Navarro and stuntperson Nick Brett.

Incoming Los Angeles board members include actors Roxanna Cortes, Milo Edwards, Fairchild, Robert Pine and Joan Pirkle.

National board members re-elected to four-year terms include actors Andrew Caple-Shaw, Darbo, Jason George and Haru; Ferguson; singers Linda Harmon, Joyce and Navarro; and Brett. Newly elected to the national board were actors Audrey Baranishyn, Bartlett, Fisher and Bill Ratner.

McCord and 190 other delegates were elected to attend AFTRA's national convention in July.
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