Aug 19, 2013, 6:53am PDT
In a hard-fought race that pit moderate leadership against a progressive faction,SAG-AFTRA reelected Ken Howard to serve as president of the Hollywood union. The veteran actor beat rival Esai Moralesby a wide margin—16,396 votes (57 percent) to 9,850 (34 percent). In addition,Amy Aquino was reelected secretary-treasurer. Their two-year terms started Thursday.
Howard previously served as co-president following the merger of the two groups in 2012. He shared the title with former AFTRA president Roberta Reardon, who lost a very close race for New York local president. Mike Hodge was reelected to that post with 3,121 votes to Reardon’s 3,003. In Los Angeles, Clyde Kusatsutrounced John Tremaine for local president, with Jenny O’Hara and Susan Boyd Joyce named first and second vice president, respectively.
“I’m gratified that members across the country have reelected me to lead our union and continue building on the strong foundation we created through merger,” Howard said. “I look forward to joining the delegates who will assemble in Los Angeles for the first SAG-AFTRA convention in late September, and then moving forward with the new leadership team to do the important work that members have entrusted to us.”
“This is an extremely exciting time for our union, and I’m deeply grateful to my fellow members for their vote of confidence in what we’ve already achieved, and for the continued opportunity to help focus SAG-AFTRA’s resources to build the effective organization that we all need and deserve,” added Aquino.
Howard and his supporters championed the two unions’ merger and control the now-80-seat national board. Morales is a former SAG board member whose affiliation Membership 1st opposed the merger. His campaign issues included transparency during contract negotiations, slow residual payments, eroding standards for middle-class actors and the decision to close 10 branch offices, reported Variety. He did win a seat on the national board.
Howard’s biggest order of business in the coming months will be to negotiate the union’s successor master contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. The union’s current deal expires June 30.