October 2, 2015 | 10:50PM PT
Kusatsu, who narrowly lost the presidency of the Los Angeles local to Jane Austin in August, won re-election Friday at the SAG-AFTRA biennial convention along with seven other national VPs —
Mike Hodge, New York; Ilyssa Fradin, Mid-Sized Locals; David Hartley-Margolin, Small Locals;
Samantha Mathis, Actors/Performers; Catherine Brown, Broadcasters; and Dan Navarro, Recording Artists.
Hodge, Hartley-Margolin, Brown and Navarro ran unopposed.
Kusatsu has dozens of credits including a recurring role on “The Young and the Restless.” He’s part of the ruling Unite For Strength faction, led by President Ken Howard.
About 400 delegates are attending the four-day convention at the Sheraton Universal. Howard, who has eschewed public confrontation with employers during his six years as a union leader, said to the delegates that the convention should be an opportunity to solve problems, according to a news release from the union.
Howard was the main backer of the 2012 merger of SAG and AFTRA, which was touted as a way of giving the combined union more bargaining power. SAG-AFTRA’s master contract on TV and films, negotiated last year, largely mirrored the gains already achieved by the Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America in their new master contracts.
And a key pledge of the pro-merger campaign — that a combined union would pave the way for combining the separate SAG and AFTRA health and retirement plans — remains unachieved three and a half years later.
The convention is not open to the news media. SAG-AFTRA said Howard had encouraged delegates to learn about the challenges confronting fellow members in every category and in other locals – and to talk, think, and collaborate on ideas and propose solutions.
“Educate, engage and empower isn’t simply the theme for this convention – it’s the mantra for our future,” Howard told the convention. “Everything we have achieved throughout our history as SAG-AFTRA – or as SAG or AFTRA before it – has been because of collective action. That is our culture. Progress is made through collective action, collaboration and hard work.”