Although SAG-AFTRA’s leading political factions have united around the reelection of President Fran Drescher and Secretary-Treasurer Joely Fisher, they’re not running unopposed in the guild’s upcoming election. Independent candidate Maya Gilbert-Dunbar will face off against Drescher and indie candidate Peter Antico will challenge Fisher, all four of whom have now officially qualified to appear on the ballot.
It’s already been a contentious election, with Drescher exchanging angry emails with Gilbert-Dunbar and Antico, who have accused her of not doing enough to protect the rights of members who refused to be vaccinated during the Covid pandemic, even though she was the leading voice among union leaders against the vaccination mandates.
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Their candidate statements, which will appear on the ballots, went to press before the guild launched its strike July 14.
In her official statement, Drescher said: “As your national president I pushed to fix our senior supplemental health package; resolved self-identifying issues with IMDb; diversified our investment portfolio; and started Green Council – uniting entertainment entities with a common environmental goal. I began the first national self-tape task force; fought for the CROWN Act, AMFA, and PATPA; and am beginning a preventative health program for members. After major improvements with the Netflix contract, I am leading us towards a seminal TV/streaming/theatrical negotiation. Member unity will be my greatest legacy. Join us in a non-partisan new dawn. Unity2023.com.”
Gilbert-Dunbar wrote in her campaign statement: “Background – you’re the SPINE of SAG-AFTRA. I know, because I toiled in those undervalued, underpaid trenches for years. Seniors – leadership FAILED YOU when you needed protection the most. Stunts, dancers, VO – you’ve been treated as second class citizens. We’ve ALL been pushed to our limits mentally, physically, emotionally, & financially. Let’s end this assault on our creative freedom by disrespectful staff & failed factions. I’m here FOR YOU, giving a voice to the voiceless, NOT producers. It’s time to put POWER in the hands of MEMBERS and reclaim the union WE fund. VOTE INDEPENDENT! VOTE GILBERT-DUNBAR•ANTICO UnionMemberNews.com.”
Gilbert-Dunbar is also running for president of the guild’s Los Angeles Local against incumbent Jodi Long’ her husband, Rockmond Dunbar, is running for local vice president against Sheryl Lee Ralph.
Fisher wrote: “We are on the precipice of a complete paradigm shift. I am asking for your vote to continue the advancements and gains I’ve been able to spearhead as National Secretary/Treasurer. We were finally able to bring to fruition the purchase of a National headquarters and keep record financial footing on the heels of a global health crisis and an impending strike. I am proud to be part of a killer negotiating team that will finally bring you a contract that truly delivers economic and creative justice. Give us another 2 years to continue this work. Vote Drescher/Fisher – Unity2023.com
Antico wrote: “Los Angeles Technology Chair, Stunt Safety Chair, Macroeconomic Scholar, Capital Management, 44 yr. vested member, I incepted the Asner legal action winning a 20.6 million settlement. SAG-AFTRA borrowed 10 million from PPP, cut 30% of staff, cut member services, gave executive staff over 1 million in raises while working from home. 42 million office expense, Purchased building for 47 million cash, tax assessed value 23 million while members lost healthcare. I will restore financial responsibility, transparency & honesty. I support residuals for TV coordinators, increased BG coverage nationwide, meaningful residual increases & AI protection. VOTE INDEPENDENT! GILBERTDUNBAR•ANTICO UnionMemberNews.com.”
There are also 37 National Board seats up for election this year, along with all local officer, local board and convention delegate positions. The executive vice president and other vice presidents will be elected at the SAG-AFTRA convention in October.
National officer ballots will be mailed to all eligible SAG-AFTRA members nationwide August 9, with a return deadline and tabulation set for September 8. Election results are expected to be announced that evening. The same schedule will apply to the Los Angeles and New York Local elections. Schedules vary for other local elections.
The guild’s election website has a list of all the board candidates across the country and their campaign statements, which can be seen here.
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