SAG-AFTRA Re-Elects Gabrielle Carteris as President

Gabrielle Carteris - Getty - H 2016
Getty Images

Gabrielle Carteris - Getty - H 2016

Carteris won a majority, albeit barely, despite facing two other strong candidates, but the rival faction polled strong in Los Angeles, signaling potential turbulence ahead.

SAG-AFTRA members have re-elected Gabrielle Carteris as president, delivering her a hairsbreadth majority despite the fact that she faced two harshly critical rivals and two other independents.

Carteris, who tops the Unite for Strength slate, received 14,674 votes, or 50.6 percent, while MembershipFirst’s Esai Morales received 8,145 votes (28.1 percent), former MF member Pete Antico garnered 4,114 (14.2 percent), and two other independent candidates, Robert Martin Jr. and Marilyn Monrovia, received 1,207 (4.2 percent) and 715 (2.5 percent), respectively, the union announced Thursday.

But a degree of split governance will continue at the union: In the election for secretary-treasurer, MF’s Jane Austin was reelected with 15,312 votes, while UFS’s Jason George received 10,953 votes and independent Chuck Slavin received 2,248 votes.

In addition, Los Angeles-based MF did well in the elections for national and local officers and board seats. Austin was re-elected as L.A. local president, and MF won both local VP slots and five of 12 national board seats, where MF candidates were three of the top four vote getters. The group performed strongly on the L.A. local board as well.

With those strongholds, MF is likely to continue its aggressive criticism of the union’s current leadership.

“I’m deeply humbled that our members have entrusted me with the privilege and honor of continuing to lead our great union," Carteris said in a statement. "During the campaign I pledged to work every day to protect and empower our SAG-AFTRA members, and I will keep that commitment. I look forward to listening to all of our members, not just those who voted for me. We must continue to work together to truly realize our potential.”

Said Austin, “Thank you my fellow members, for exercising your right to vote and trusting me to represent your interests for another two years as the Secretary-Treasurer of SAG-AFTRA. It is an honor to continue the work that has been set in motion, and to provide transparency in union activities in order to achieve many more future successes on your behalf.”

SAG-AFTRA national executive director David White welcomed the officers, saying, “I would like to congratulate all of the officers elected today. I look forward to working with President Carteris and Secretary-Treasurer Austin to continue the tremendous progress we have made over the last several years. The staff and I are eager to work with all of the elected leaders nationwide on the many union initiatives and goals that support, inspire and empower SAG-AFTRA members.”

Ballots for the national officers election were mailed to approximately 144,000 eligible voters on July 25, and 28,988 were returned, for a return of 20.1 percent.

Ballots for the union’s New York local were also tabulated Thursday, where Mike Hodge was re-elected local president. The New York-based United Screen Actors Nationwide faction picked up almost every seat on the ballot. In addition to Hodge’s victory, USAN also won all four vp seats, eight of nine national board seats, 31 of 34 local board seats and most of the convention delegate slots.

“I am so grateful to all SAG-AFTRA performers for the vote of confidence in USAN Leadership and me,” said Hodge. “I’m proud to serve all New York members with this amazing group of proven, diverse leaders who are dedicated to fighting for their fellow members.”

The USAN results are a blow for the New York Coalition for Unity, a faction primarily composed of prior AFTRA activists. NYC4U won a national board seat, two local board seats and a number of delegate positions.

USAN is effectively the New York affiliate of Los Angeles-based Unite for Strength, the faction that currently controls most of the union’s national positions. In contrast, NYC4U is not affiliated with UFS or MF.