SAG-AFTRA

SAG-AFTRA Photo by Ringo Chiu.

Members of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists voted Aug. 28 to give Gabrielle Carteris another two-year term as president. The votes comes as the union is broadening its negotiation strategy in a changing entertainment business landscape.

SAG-AFTRA said Carteris received 44% of the 31,000 votes, defeating Matthew Modine, who garnered 37% of the tally.

Carteris’s choice for Secretary-Treasurer Camryn Manheim also won, defeating Modine’s selection for the spot, Jodi Long.

About 21% of the union’s 145,700 eligible voters cast a ballot.

Carteris was first appointed union president in 2016, and is best known for her role on the 1990s television drama “Beverly Hills 90210.”

She ran under the union’s so-called “Unite for Strength” slate, which has controlled SAG-AFTRA since 2009.

Modine, whose roles have ranged from the 1980s Vietnam War movie “Full Metal Jacket” to present day Netflix Inc. drama “Stranger Things,” ran under a platform dubbed “Membership First."

The slates differ in that Membership First often advocates for a more confrontational approach with the studios, networks, radio stations and now streaming services with which SAG-AFTRA negotiates.

The biennial election occurred amid changes for SAG-AFTRA, most notably the union finalizing its first-ever standalone collective bargaining agreement with Netflix in July.

The deal expanded the number of actors covered under the existing blanket contract SAG-AFTRA has with traditional movie studios, adding performers whose images are used in computer-generated “performance capture” technology to create special effects characters. Netflix also agreed to include voice actors who dub movies and shows into other languages as employees under the contract.

During her campaign, Carteris repeatedly invoked the Netflix deal, saying it would be a template to renegotiate SAG-AFTRA’s contract with studios, which expires July 1, 2020.

Modine’s campaign had come under scrutiny for using ads financed by the New York Film Academy, which has received donations from the actor. Federal labor law prohibits union candidates from receiving in-kind contributions in exchange for donations.

Ultimately, the Membership First slate was more successful in Los Angeles local elections. Former Home Improvement star Patricia Richardson, who ran under the Membership First platform, was voted president of the union's Los Angeles local chapter.

Media and entertainment reporter Matthew Blake can be reached at (323)556-8332 or mblake@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him @mattpennyblake.

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