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Unite for Strength, the inter-union party that both Carteris and Drescher belong to, announced The Nanny star’s candidacy on Friday and added that Star Trek: Discovery actor Anthony Rapp will run for national secretary-treasurer of the union, which represents actors, announcers, DJs, dancers and other performing artists. (Like Carteris, current national secretary-treasurer Camryn Manheim will not be seeking re-election.) Deadline was the first to report the news.
“I’m honored to have been asked to run,” Drescher said in a statement. “I hope to apply my experience as the president of the Cancer Schmancer Movement and my success on Capitol Hill and as a Public Diplomacy Envoy for uniting our union, increasing member benefits and giving our 160k strong membership a more significant presence on the national landscape.”
In an Instagram post, Drescher added that her campaign will focus on funneling more dues into member benefits and highlighting “diversity and eco awareness.” Overall, Unite for Strength’s platform emphasizes more earnings for performers in the streaming economy, combatting sexual harassment on set, increasing residuals and protecting pensions, among other issues.
In his own statement, Rapp added, “I have been a proud union member since I was nine years old. My decades of work have afforded me a platform that I strive to use as a voice for the voiceless, and as a champion for acceptance, inclusion, safety, and opportunity for all. As Secretary-Treasurer, I will be a responsible steward of our union’s resources, to help ensure that all generations of our members can have a bright and protected future.”
Drescher and Rapp will face off against fellow actor Matthew Modine (Stranger Things) and running mate Joely Fisher (Inspector Gadget), who are running for the opposing Membership First faction within the union. Membership First, which has strongly protested controversial cuts to SAG-AFTRA’s healthcare plan, says it wants to negotiate more favorable contracts, reform pension and retirement plans, improve transparency and cover more background actors in contracts, among other issues.
Though no longer vying for the top roles within the union, Carteris and Manheim will be running for the National Board with Unite for Strength. Carteris spent five years as president, a tenure which began in 2016 when she became acting president of the union following the death of then-president Ken Howard. She was re-elected in 2017 and 2019, when she won out against Modine, whose Membership First party nevertheless nabbed key seats on the Los Angeles board.
“I am so pleased to have served the members of SAG-AFTRA for the last five and a half years and it is with joy and humility that I pass the baton to a new team of experienced and dedicated leaders who will guide the union into the future,” Carteris said in a statement. “With Fran Drescher at the helm, I know our union and our membership are in great hands. It’s bittersweet to move on, but I do so with gratitude and great confidence in Fran and the remarkable Anthony Rapp.”
The election is set to kick off August 3rd, when election ballots will be mailed to members, and ballots will be tabulated on September 2nd.
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