Ken Howard Leads Moderate Sweep in SAG Elections – What’s Next?

Updating as news comes in.

images6As predicted here on King Harvest last week, moderate Ken Howard has won the SAG presidency on the new more moderate Unite For Strength (UFS) slate. The UFS candidate for Secretary Treasurer Amy Aquino also won, indicating the dominance of the UFS slate as she beat out well known star Connie Stevens.

The exact count on board seats is not out yet but likely the UFS’ers and independents will have a lot to celebrate.

One key immediate issue for the new Board: whether to make Interim NED David White, the senior staff executive of SAG, a permanent or longer term contractual offer (he currently has a one year deal that expires at the end of 2009).

White is popular among moderates but has no background in the labor movement other than his service as general counsel to SAG under former studio lawyer Bob Pisano. White also apparently made a mistake during the last contract round when he failed to take seriously the Studios’ demand that the new contract be for three years rather than two after negotiations dragged on a year beyond the original contract expiration date.

SAG pushed the studios back on that demand but that made it all but impossible to improve on the substance of the deal that was on the table and in essence SAG put in new leadership but was not able to translate that into gains at the bargaining table. Thus, MF may make trouble during the selection process of a new NED no matter their political standing.

A second longer term but critical question will be if the moderates’ win signals no strike in 2011? See my earlier post on Hollywood Labor Returns to Moderation for an assessment of the impact of today’s vote on future bargaining with the entertainment industry.