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Matthew Modine on Monday announced his candidacy for SAG-AFTRA president, setting the stage for a pitched battle at the performers’ union as the above-the-line guilds begin preparing for triennial negotiations with the studios and producers, and at a time when entertainment labor is already in turmoil due to the WGA’s battle with talent agents.
Modine is a member of the MembershipFirst party, a group that controlled the union in the mid-2000s before losing to Unite for Strength in 2008. UFS’ Gabrielle Carteris has been president since 2016. It is assumed she will run again, but she has not yet made an announcement. The campaign is likely to be hard fought.
“As a current national and local board member of SAG-AFTRA, it would be my honor to represent all 160,000 members of the union I have proudly been a member of for nearly four decades,” Modine said. “It is my privilege to stand up for our legacy in order to safeguard our future. There comes a time when we must work to ensure that current and future membership will be able to enjoy the basic rights and securities our union has always provided. It’s my time to give back.”
MF opposed the merger of SAG and AFTRA, and since that 2012 joinder has been broadly critical of UFS leadership. The group has 15 members on SAG-AFTRA’s approximately 80-member national board, including secretary-treasurer Jane Austin, the second-ranking elected officer. On the Los Angeles local board, the heart of MF’s base, the group holds 22 of 45 seats. Modine has served on both boards for the last 18 months.
Modine’s supporters include past SAG presidents Ed Asner, Bill Daniels and Alan Rosenberg and such notables as Patricia Arquette, Rosanna Arquette, Sean Astin, Adam Baldwin, Billy Baldwin, Jennifer Beals, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ed Harris, Melissa Joan Hart, Dennis Haysbert, Arliss Howard, Costas Mandalor, Heather Matarazzo, Alfred Molina, Esai Morales, Martin Sheen, Nancy Sinatra, Mira Sorvino, Eric Stoltz, Mena Suvari and Lisa Ann Walter, among others.
SAG-AFTRA recently announced it had established a committee focused on next year’s TV/theatrical contract negotiations, with Carteris as chair. The union’s wages and working conditions process — in which leaders meet with the rank and file to determine bargaining priorities — will start this week, The Hollywood Reporter has learned and if history is a guide, negotiations will take place in the spring ahead of a June 30 contract expiration.
4/29/2019 10:20 p.m. corrected timing of wages & working conditions process.
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