Actors vying for seats on SAG boards

Jeff Garlin, Ron Perlman among candidates from UFS party

Jeff Garlin, Ron Perlman, Clark Gregg and Gabrielle Carteris are among the candidates from the Unite for Strength party vying for seats on the Screen Actors Guild's national and Hollywood Division boards.

UFS announced Wednesday its full slate of 35 candidates, which includes 15 Hollywood board incumbents and a number of first-timers. Ballots go out to Hollywood Division members August 24 and must be returned by Sept. 23, when results will be tallied.

A first round of preliminary discussions with employers for a new TV-theatrical contract begins four days later. That deal expires June 30.

The UFS party, which is part of a majority coalition that now runs the guild, was founded in 2008 in the midst of inter-union strife and took the hotly contested presidency last fall with its candidate Ken Howard.

"I'm inspired by our candidates," said Howard. "These are smart, dedicated SAG members who are passionate about protecting actors. They represent the diversity of our membership and I know they'll be terrific leaders if elected."

The UFS strategy is built on a dedication to creating one performers union from members of SAG and its sister union, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Joint bargaining between SAG and AFTRA broke apart during the last tumultuous round of contract negotiations but was revived again earlier this year after UFS and its coalition substantively took power away from the more hardline Membership First party run by former SAG president Alan Rosenberg and 1st national vp Anne-Marie Johnson.

Recently, SAG and AFTRA took another step toward uniting their guilds when Howard and AFTRA president Roberta Reardon established The Presidents' Forum for One Union. UFS supporters welcome the movement.

"I became a professional actor in 1973," said Perlman ("Hellboy"). "I've done just about every type of work possible in this business and it's never made sense that my jobs were covered by separate unions. With digital video fast becoming the state of the art in filmmaking, splitting work between SAG and AFTRA goes way beyond senseless; it is unacceptable. The only ones who benefit from that division are our employers and we have to put a stop to it."

In addition to Carteris, Garlin, Gregg and Perlman, the full Unite for Strength slate includes Michelle Allsopp, Scotty Caldwell, William Charlton, Assaf Cohen, Mimi Cozzens, Ellen Crawford, Bertila Damas, Patrick Fabian, Jason George, Jon Huertas, Sam Jaeger, Clyde Kusatsu, Christine Lakin, Dawnn Lewis, Donal Logue, Gilles Marini, D.W. Moffett, Marisol Nichols, Jenny O'Hara, Michael O'Keefe, Michael O'Neill, Conrad Palmisano, Tara Radcliffe, Dileep Rao, Sarayu Rao, Woody Schultz, Bill Smitrovich, Mandy Steckelberg, Marcia Strassman, Stacey Travis and Ned Vaughn.

SAG announced a complete list of candidates for the upcoming board elections later Wednesday.