It’s official: Five candidates have thrown their hats into the ring in the race to become president of SAG AFTRA. Incumbent Gabrielle Carteris will face off against challengers Esai Morales, Peter Antico, Robert B. Martin Jr. and Marilyn Monrovia. Three other candidates are running for national secretary-treasurer: incumbent Jane Austin and challengers Jason George and Chuck Slavin. Read their candidate statements below.
Carteris, running on the Unite for Strength slate, said in her campaign statement that “The extraordinary privilege of serving as president is a journey I began nine years ago. After I was badly injured while filming, the union took care of me — and I pledged to give back through my service. Together we’ve accomplished so much: the historic unionization of Telemundo, working with California’s governor to pass the IMDb law, seeing our health plans merge, and now I’m focused on leading our TV/Theatrical negotiations. The work of SAG-AFTRA never stops but I bring passion to protecting our members every day. I would be deeply honored to continue fighting for you.”
Her statement, posted today on the union’s website, was written before the contract negotiations were completed. She’s now leading the effort to get the contract ratified by the guild’s members.
Morales, running on the Membership First slate, said in his statement: “Serving on the national board for 17 years has taught me well. I’ll lead our union to be transparent, inclusive and accountable. I’ll be a unifying force to preside over a divergent boardroom. Welcoming open and honest dialogue, we’ll gauge our union and chart our course. Will fight boldly and judiciously protect our standard of living including residuals, pension and health plans – especially our vulnerable members. Cross party lines to eliminate waste and inefficiency placing membership service above partisan politics. #peacefulwarrior with an artist’s heart and four decades of goodwill in this industry. Responsible proactive leadership.”
Antico, a former member of Membership First who’s running as an independent, said in his statement that he’s a 38-year member of SAG and AFTRA and that he “helped uncover the $756,000 misappropriation of funds found in SAG’s pension fund. SAG-AFTRA is run by actors who are not educated in corporate finance, nor governance. We must restore ethics and sound business practices to SAG-AFTRA, through education, transparency, love and forgiveness. We are all responsible, good or bad, for what has taken place in SAG-AFTRA to date. Join me in affecting a change that benefits the ideology of the highest good for all.”
Martin, running independently, said in his statement: “Our president requires extreme experience and expertise in executing SAG-AFTRA contracts, not only negotiating our contracts, from background to celebrities. A working knowledge of computer architecture, mass communication, acquisition, development, production, marketing, corporate concepts, SAG-AFTRA assets, operations, budgets, R&D, brand cost consultants, including an established respected reputation/ relationship with major studios, production companies, talent, producers, directors, writers, agents, managers, and the global creative community. It can be done, it will be done, with solidarity and your vote.”
Said Monrovia: “Serving SAG-AFTRA as an independent in a top leadership role during changing times, while working alongside the members, is my goal. I will carefully listen to your ideas. Your feedback is a gift. Thanks for the opportunity to represent. Please take a moment and vote, stats say only 12% of you do! Thanks for your consideration.”
In the race for national secretary-treasurer, Austin, running as Moreles’ running mate on the Membership First slate, said in her statement that “It’s been an honor serving you as secretary-treasurer. My approach is simple. Recognize the problems and fix them. As an experienced business woman I know how to run a productive, responsive and cost efficient union. Since my election, we have seen a surplus in the millions in our finances. We have returning departments for background, singers, dancers, stunts, voiceover and sound recordings. We have negotiated excellent contracts for our broadcasters. There’s more to do. We must find a solution for our split earnings between SAG and AFTRA’s pension plans to finally merge them.”
George, who as Carteris’ running mate, said in his statement: “Smart, successful organizations understand that increasing efficiencies and introducing automation improves customer experience. Our use of data and finances must track those of our hi-tech world. I’m thrilled that SAG-AFTRA will be incorporating direct depositing of residuals, saving millions in postage and labor, but we can and must go further. I’ll press for an option for automatic billing of union dues, electronic sign-outs on sets and sign-ins at auditions, which will also help us better track diversity and ageism in casting. Chair, National Diversity Committee; I’ve served for 15 years on the TV/Theatrical Negotiating Committee.”
Slavin, running as an independent, said in his statement: “We all have value! For your consideration: Being from the New England local, I know the vicissitudes you face as an actor/actress, in film and television, both as a principal and background performer, and as broadcaster and journalist, stunt performer, voice over artist and recording artist. I believe in our strength to come together with one voice collectively through diversity and selfless service. We are a labor union. We must continue to defend the work we do, and our assets. With your support we will continue to fight relentlessly to protect the value of, and for all members!”