SAG-AFTRA national executive director David White was appointed in December by the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in Washington to a seat as director of the central bank’s West Coast unit, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. The appointment had not previously been announced, probably due to the federal government shutdown that began Dec. 22.
White will serve as one of nine directors of the San Francisco Fed in a term that runs through Dec. 31, 2021, and is one of only about three labor leaders on any regional Fed bank board, most of whose directors are corporate or banking chieftains or, in a few cases, academics. That paucity of representation for the working- and middle-class dramatically affected by Fed policy makes the appointment particularly noteworthy.
“Our members work in multiple industries that have been completely upended by technology and market forces,” said White in a statement to THR. “The opportunity to share such insights with policymakers and to receive a global view of what is occurring in the broader economy is incredibly useful, and I am looking forward to my service on the board.”
White will continue at SAG-AFTRA, his role unchanged by the new directorship.
The San Francisco Fed, the federal bank for Fed District 12 — nine western states and several territories — is the nation’s second largest by assets held, after New York. The board of directors plays a role in monetary and credit policy, as well as supervising administration of the regional bank and selecting its president.
According to a Fed website, directors “bring…separate and eclectic viewpoints on economic and credit conditions [that] help the Federal Reserve anticipate changing trends in the economy [and] have an opportunity to express their views as to whether monetary policy is ‘about right, too tight, or too easy.’”
While actress Gabrielle Carteris is SAG-AFTRA president — an unpaid, elected position — White is the union’s top staffer, a position he has held for ten years at SAG-AFTRA and predecessor SAG. A Rhodes scholar and Stanford Law graduate, he supervises a workforce of over 500, while the union represents 165,000 members, including performers in film, television, commercials and other industries, as well as singers and broadcasters.
White also serves as chief negotiator on major union contracts, such as the commercials agreement whose negotiations are expected to commence next month in advance of a March 31 expiration. On a lighter note, he’s also expected to be on the scene at the upcoming SAG Awards Jan. 27.
The only other entertainment industry figure on the San Francisco Fed board is former Warner Bros. chairman and CEO Barry Meyer, whose second term will expire in December. Even the San Francisco bank’s subsidiary Los Angeles branch is without Hollywood representation on its board.
Both Meyer and White are so-called Class C directors. That’s simply a category, not a reflection of stature: each Fed district board consists of three Class A directors elected by and representing member banks, three Class B non-banker directors elected by member banks but representing the public, and three Class C directors appointed by the Fed Board of Governors to represent the public.
Other labor leaders on Fed bank boards include New York City Central Labor Council president Vincent Alvarez of the New York Fed and, on the Cleveland Fed board, David Megenhardt, executive director of the United Labor Agency, a workforce development organization formed by the AFL-CIO, United Autoworkers and International Brotherhood of Teamsters.