A STATEMENT ON THE LEGALITY OF THE
2019 SAG-AFTRA ELECTION

Dear Member,

We at Unite for Strength believe elections should be run legally.

We support the findings of the NOLA election committee in overturning the NOLA election based on illegal employer contributions to the Membership First backed candidates in New Orleans.

We strongly considered filing a similar protest in Los Angeles as detailed in the LA Times on 8/21/19LA TIMES: Film School’s Ties with Matthew Modine Face Scrutiny in Heated SAG-AFTRA Election
Matthew Modine and Membership First, explicitly and irrefutably, violated Section 401(g) of the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act; the labor law governing union elections.

Legal scholars agree that Membership First violated this law and willingly accepted employer donations from NYFA; and finally removed the videos only when a reporter started asking questions about their legality.

These employer-produced campaign videos gained over 15,000 views on YouTube alone and offered an illegal and unfair advantage to Mr. Modine and Membership First.

While we know that these violations impacted the results of the Los Angeles local elections, we also understand that our first priority is to our members.

Filing an election challenge would have absolutely overturned the local election based on the evidence; leading to a brand new election in the Los Angeles local. However, we determined that as painful as the results were, re-running the election would not be in the best interest of our almost 80,000 Los Angeles members.

The hundreds of thousands of dollars and complete displacement of SAG-AFTRA staff's time right before a major negotiation is too great a price to bear. We continue to balance the need for fair elections with the crucial interest of getting on with the business of our union; protecting members and negotiating strong contracts.

We ask that our fellow SAG-AFTRA members, especially those in Los Angeles, take a serious and critical look at Membership First's illegal actions that contributed to the results in our local and evaluate, for themselves, whether this is behavior we are willing to condone.

SAG-AFTRA is in the business of legally protecting members and it is crucial that any person or group that seeks election at least follows the law themselves.

Our members deserve nothing less.

In Solidarity,

Unite for Strength

the mission

ABOUT UNITE FOR STRENGTH

our VALUES

INCLUSION. VISION. RESULTS.

Unite for Strength is a MOVEMENT; not a political party.

It's a movement that started by merging SAG and AFTRA to form the most powerful union in the world.

A movement that continues today, because we believe that you deserve money in your pocket, safety on your set and more security for you and your family.

Every two years SAG-AFTRA has elections. And in each one, you get to decide which of your fellow members will volunteer their time to represent you.

When filling out your ballot, don't vote for a political party; vote for a movement.

Vote for Inclusion.

Vote for Vision.

Vote for Results.

Vote Unite for Strength.

Our platform

money in
your pocket

Working together as a national team we’ve successfully negotiated contracts that have put over one billion additional dollars into members’ pockets.

We will continue to increase residuals, create more opportunities to work, and fight for better pay in every negotiation.

SECURITY FOR YOU AND
YOUR FAMILY

We saw the health plans merged; a feat that never would have been accomplished had UFS not led the charge to merge SAG and AFTRA.

We will continue our work to expedite safe merger of the pension plans and ensure that both your health and pension remain financially secure.

safety on your set

In addition to an emphasis on new set and stunt safety guidelines, with anonymous hotline reporting options, we also led the creation of the first ever industry standard Sexual Harassment Code of Conduct; including new provisions in our Commercials and Network Television Code contracts, calling for the end of auditions in hotels and private residences.

proven leadership

Not only have we secured contracts worth over one billion dollars for members, we have made SAG-AFTRA financially stable, resulting in record level surpluses.

UNITE FOR STRENGTH: A TRACK RECORD OF PROVEN RESULTS

  • Merged SAG and AFTRA into SAG-AFTRA.
  • Negotiated over 1 billion additional dollars in game-changing contracts; like the 2019 Commercials Contract, The Netflix Deal, and Video Game Contracts.
  • Confronted sexual harassment through legislative action and contract improvements. Resulting in the only industry-wide 24/7 hotline and the use of on set intimacy coordinators.
  • Strong pensions in the Green Zone.
  • The merger of the health plans has led to a record number of members achieving health care coverage
  • Won the BBH Strike!
  • Organized Telemundo; the first TV network to unionize in 65 years.
  • Helped secure and expand California Tax Incentives.
  • Achieved Dancer and Background coverage in Music Videos.
  • Achieved Performance Capture coverage in the Netflix Deal.
  • Total member earnings at an all-time high!

UNITE FOR STRENGTH WilL ...

Unite for strength's slate

UFS LEADERSHIP TEAM

gabrielle carteriS

sag-aftra president

camryn manheiM

sag-aftra secretary-treasurer

National Board MEMBERS

Ben Whitehair

Hal Eisner

Michelle Hurd

Dan Navarro

Jenny O'Hara

Jason George

Robert Pine

Stacey Travis

I have been honored to serve on Local and National boards. Making a living acting under multiple contracts over the years has compelled me to serve our members. I will continue our fight for online privacy. As Chair of LA GAPP, we helped secure five more years of Tax incentives in CA to 2025 and lobbied DC for a bill to reclaim our tax deductions. Helped create SPA and will work to continue increasing our pay in Low Budget New Media & Films and improve our claims resolutions. Online Privacy (Chair), Government Affairs and Public Policy (Chair), Low Budget (Chair), SAGIndie, TV/Theatrical, Military Personnel and Families Support, National & Local Women’s committee.

Yvette Nicole Brown

I am running for the National Board because I believe in our union and the good it does for each of us. As a member for 23 years who has been blessed to work in nearly every area of the industry, I know that there is no industry issue too big for all of us to handle. Further, I know that we are better when we all realize that we’re in this together. I look forward to being a productive part of all the good we will do in the future.

Los Angeles Local Board MEMBERS

Rob Archer
Jasper Randall
Fletcher Sheridan
10
Lee Purcell
14
Woody Schultz
30
Katie Von Till
33
Ben Whitehair
34
Vivicca Whitsett
47
Natalia Castellanos
50
Tom Choi
52
Tiffany Yvonne Cox
53
Ellen Crawford
101
Jenny O’Hara
103
Danielle Towne
what others Are saying

Endorsements

“There’s no one better for President of SAG-AFTRA than Gabrielle Carteris.
She has strength, intelligence and compassion; hallmarks of a true leader.
Along with Unite for Strength, and other leaders around the country, she will continue to carry our union into the future.
I absolutely support her re-election as SAG-AFTRA President.”

Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony, and SAG-AFTRA Life Achievement Award winner - Rita Moreno

what others Are saying

Endorsements

“We are at a crucial time for unions in our country and around the world.
Now, more than ever, we need battle-tested leadership that supports workers and the protections our union has always guaranteed. Gabrielle is a fighter.
She understands that strong contracts, rigorous enforcement, and comprehensive safeguards are what members truly need and deserve. Gabrielle and Unite for Strength are exactly the people with the courage and conviction required at this critical moment."

Emmy award winner - James Cromwell

what others Are saying

Endorsements

“Whether convincing a governor to sign a bill protecting against age discrimination, establishing guidelines to safeguard
against sexual harassment or working with stunt professionals to achieve safer sets,
Gabrielle is always fighting for each and every member.
That is why I am proud to support Gabrielle Carteris for SAG-AFTRA President
and the entire Unite for Strength and USAN teams.”

academy award winner - Octavia spencer

what others Are saying

Endorsements

“Anger without a plan is destructive.
A show of force without an effective strategy is ruinous.
Gabrielle has demonstrated her ability to channel strong passions and a broad spectrum of ideas in order to get real results.
This strategy led to an unprecedented and innovative Commercials Contract which
paves a pathway back to union commercial work.
Gabrielle Carteris absolutely has my vote.”

academy award winner - J.K. Simmons

what others Are saying

Endorsements

“I support the reelection of Gabrielle and her team to maintain the progressive and compassionate leadership
that SAG-AFTRA members deserve, especially now, in this ever-changing industry.”

academy award nominee & Emmy award winner - Bryan Cranston

what others Are saying

ENDORSEMENTS

“Under the leadership of Gabrielle Carteris and Unite for Strength, SAG-AFTRA is now at the forefront
on issues that disproportionately affect women, creating comprehensive solutions
to protect our work, physical safety and mental health.
From creating the only 24/7 sexual harassment hotline in the entertainment industry, to fighting age discrimination
through legislation and creating a code of conduct prohibiting private meetings in hotel rooms and residences,
SAG-AFTRA is leading the fight for equality.
This is the kind of leadership SAG-AFTRA needs and I fully support the re-election of Gabrielle as SAG-AFTRA President.”

academy award winner & Activist - Geena Davis

what others Are saying

ENDORSEMENTS

I think the smartest strategy for us is to stick with someone who has done a lot
to secure the greatest opportunities for actors in the modern era.
I hope you will join me in supporting Gabrielle Carteris and the entire USAN/UFS team.

SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AWARD & EMMY WINNER - Alec baldwin

what others Are saying

ENDORSEMENTS

“As President of SAG-AFTRA, Gabrielle Carteris has been smart as a whip and tough as nails.
She and her fantastic team are dedicated to making our union the strongest it can be.
Gabrielle and Unite for Strength have my support and my vote.”

Emmy award winner - Jane Lynch

what others Are saying

Endorsements

“Gabrielle Carteris is the clear choice for SAG-AFTRA president.
Her track record speaks for itself.
I’m thrilled to support such a powerhouse woman and her Unite for Strength team.”

Emmy award winner - Margo Martindale

what others Are saying

Endorsements

“Since the years I spent with her on the board, Gabrielle Carteris has been a clear-eyed, passionate champion
for working actors and an agent for positive change in our union.
Working with Unite for Strength, Gabrielle has put together a team of smart, dedicated leaders
who will fight to protect our members across the country.
Your vote can make the difference. Vote for Unite for Strength.”

star of "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." - Clark Gregg

what others Are saying

Endorsements

“Gabrielle Carteris has been a great president of SAG-AFTRA.
She’s tough, smart, and on it, fighting for the union 24/7.
I am endorsing Gabrielle and her team Unite For Strength/USAN.
They have my support and my vote.”

Emmy award Winner - Rhea Perlman

what others Are saying

Endorsements

“I’m proud to support the visionary leadership of Gabrielle Carteris.
I’ve been impressed by her dedication to the needs of our members and
her understanding of the value of inclusivity and diversity.
She stands on her principles and doesn’t hesitate to put herself on the line.”

star of "star trek" - JON CHO

what others Are saying

ENDORSMENTS

President Gabrielle Carteris has passionately and strategically led SAG-AFTRA,
addressing current issues and assessing future challenges.
She and her colleagues at Unite for Strength and USAN work with leaders across the country
to make sure members are supported no matter where we work.
Because of their leadership SAG-AFTRA is stronger than ever.
That is why they have my absolute endorsement.

emmy winner - NOAH WYLE

additional supporters

more

Octavia Spencer, Bryan Cranston, Geena Davis, Alan Alda, James Cromwell, Rita Moreno, J.K. Simmons, Jane Lynch, Alec Baldwin, Rosario Dawson, Clark Gregg, Maria Bello, Noah Wyle, Camryn Manheim, Mike Colter, Margo Martindale, Jason Priestley, Jon Huertas, Marcia Gay Harden, Michael Cudlitz, Tichina Arnold, Adam Arkin, John Cho, Selma Blair, Jason George, Mike Farrell, Rhea Perlman, Yvette Nicole Brown, Adrian Martinez, Lisa Vidal, Robert Patrick, Michelle Hurd, Jack Speer, Joe Krebs, Michael O'Neill, D.W. Moffett, John Carroll Lynch, Keythe Farley, Cort Hessler, Omid Abtahi, Kate Maberly, David Wenham, Shawn Ashmore, James Callis, Mike Pniewski, Sarah Carter, James Lesure, Linda Park, Victor Webster, Laura Campbell, Marnette Patterson, Jamie Sorrentini, Pej Vahdat, David Cubitt, Laura Coover, Yan Feldman, Spencer Garrett, Catherine Dent, Patrick Fabian, Robert Pine, Jenny O'Hara, David Hartley-Margolin, Jim Kerr, Ellen Crawford, Chantal Cousineau, Iqbal Theba, Lee Purcell, Tom Choi, Parvesh Cheena, Dawnn Lewis, Kate Flannery, Kate Linder, Vivicca Whitsett, William Charlton, Nitasha Bhambree, Woody Schultz, Hal Eisner, Janice Pendarvis, Joy Benedict, Bobbie Bates, Jasper Randall, Bob Butler, John Rothman, Keri Tombazian, Jeff Spurgeon, Katie Barberi, Delanna Studi, Stephen Lang, Loretta Swit, Tamlyn Tomita, and Mike Genovese.

NATIONWIDE SUPPORT
Gabrielle has also been endorsed by over 100 SAG-AFTRA leaders from all 25 locals.

NATIONAL OFFICERS | Rebecca Damon (Executive Vice President), Clyde Kusatsu (Vice President, Los Angeles), Liz Zazzi (Vice President, New York), Ilyssa Fradin (Vice President, Mid-Sized Locals), Suzanne Burkhead (Vice President, Small Locals), Samantha Mathis (Vice President, Actors/Performers), Catherine Brown (Vice President, Broadcasters), Dan Navarro (Vice President, Recording Artists) ARIZONA-UTAH | Joe Corcoran (President), Margie Ghigo (National Board Member), Billy Holden (Vice President), Ted Raymond ATLANTA | Ric Reitz (President), Debra Nelson (National Board Member), Mike Pniewski (1st Vice President), Clayton Landey (2nd Vice President), Yolanda Asher (Secretary), Wilbur Fitzgerald (Former President), Ray Benitez, Eric Goins, Jon Hayden, Doug Kaye, Sheila Maddox, Michelle Rivera, Barry Stoltze, , Adena Brumer CHICAGO | Charles Andrew Gardner (President), John Carter Brown (National Board Member), Richard Shavzin (National Board Member) COLORADO | Sheila Ivy Traister (President and National Board Member), David Hartley-Margolin (Former National Vice President, Small Locals), Nancy Flanagan (Vice President), Maureen Aldrin, Dulcie Camp, James Engel, Jason Henning, Nita Froelich, Abner Genece, Chaz Grundy, Catherine McGuire, T. David Rutherford, Joan Valentine DALLAS–FORT WORTH | Brent Anderson (President), Hector Garcia (National Board Member), Suzanne Burkhead HAWAII | Scott Rogers (National Board Member) HOUSTON – AUSTIN | Pamela Weaver (President and National Board Member, Dee Dawson (Former National Board Member), Mykle McCoslin (First Vice President), Norma Jean McVey, Michelle Rendon LOS ANGELES | Clyde Kusatsu (National Vice President, Los Angeles), Dan Navarro (National Vice President, Recording Artists), Ellen Crawford (National and Local Board Member), Jenny O’Hara (National and Local Board Member), Woody Schultz (National and Local Board Member), William Charlton (National and Local Board Member), Bobbie Bates (National Board Member), Hal Eisner (National Board Member), Lisa Vidal (National Board Member), Jason George (National Board Member). Michelle Hurd (National Board Member), Jon Huertas (National Board Member), Stacey Travis (National Board Member), Jasper Randall (National Board Member), Robert Pine (National Board Member), Abigail Spencer (National Board Member), Catherine Dent (Local Board Member), Dawnn Lewis (Local Board Member), Elaine Loh (Local Board Member), Elizabeth McLaughlin (Local Board Member), Fletcher Sheridan (Local Board Member), Kate Flannery (Local Board Member), Kate Linder (Local Board Member), Katie Von Till (Local Board Member), Lee Purcell (Local Board Member), Parvesh Cheena (Local Board Member), Patrick Fabian (Local Board Member), Rob Archer (Local Board Member), Spencer Garrett (Local Board Member), Tom Choi (Local Board Member), Vivicca Whitsett (Local Board Member), Ben Whitehair (Local Board Member) MIAMI | John McKarthy (President), Nancy Duerr (National Board Member), Steve Gladstone (Former President), Dave Corey (Former National Board Member) MICHIGAN | Eric Wydra (President), Peter Tocco (National Board Member), Jo-Jo Shutty-MacGregor (1st Vice President), Phil Elam (2nd Vice President), Shane Carson (Secretary) MISSOURI VALLEY | Tom Murray (President), Rodger Brand (National Board Member) NASHVILLE | Mike Montgomery (President) , Evans Donnell NEVADA | Steve Dressler (National Board Member) NEW ENGLAND | Michele Proude  (President), Bill Mootos (National Board Member), Tom Kemp (VP Actor/Performers), Vic Ramos (VP Broadcasters), Ellen Colton (Secretary), Doug Bowen-Flynn, Frank Cacciola, Doug Cope, Russ Gannon, Paul Horn, Andrea Lyman, Peter McSwiggin, Karen Scalia, Rod Fritz NEW MEXICO | Marc Comstock (President), Mel MacKaron – National Board Member, William Sterchi (Former SAG Council President), Michael L. Miller (2nd Vice President), Allan K. Edgar, Mary Woods NEW ORLEANS | Charles Ferrara (National Board Member) NEW YORK | Rebecca Damon (Executive Vice President and NY President), Ezra Knight (Vice President), Maureen Donnelly (Vice President), Jim Kerr (Vice President), Liz Zazzi (Vice President), Manny Alfaro, Dave Bachman, Marc Baron, Evan Bass, Thomas Bellezza, Nitasha Bhambree, Sandra M. Bloom, David Bodenschatz, Avis Boone, Jacqueline (Jacqui) Bradley, Christine Bruno, Ray DeForest, Gene DeFrancis, Wayne Duvall, Venida Evans, Nick Fondulis, Janette Gautier, Andrew Gelles, Traci Godfrey, Stuart Green, Ed Heavey, Cort Hessler, Anita Hollander, Vivienne Jurado, Sandra Karas, Kathy Keane, Verania Kenton, Peter Kilcommons, Gerald Kline, Jeff Knapp, Ilene Kristen, Elaine LeGaro, Tom Ligon, Cathy Lilly, Doug Lory, James Lurie, Adrian Martinez, Tommy McInnis, Robert McKay, Joseph Melendez, S.P. Monahan, Mary Elaine Monti, Jack Mulcahy, Christine Nagy, Janice Pendarvis, Jay Potter, Linda Powell, Cheri Preston, Marisa Redanty, Buzz Roddy, John Rothman, Nick Sakai, Kevin Scullin, Sarah Seeds, leslie Shreve, Alice Spivak, Jeff Spurgeon, Nancy Ellen Sutherland, Jamal Story, Alex Tavis, Joan Valentina, Tania Villanueva, Rick Zahn OHIO–PITTSBURGH | Chris Lacey (National Board Member), Mark Roberts PHILADELPHIA | Mike Kraycik (VP Actors/Performers), John Mitchel (National Board Member), Tom McNutt (Former President), Helen McNutt (Former National Board Member) PORTLAND | Mary MacDonald-Lewis (National Board Member), Robert Cohn, Harold Phillips, Chrisse Roccaro, Michelle Damis, Margaret McOmie SAN DIEGO | Martin Alvillar (President), Don Ahles (National Board Member) SAN FRANCISCO–NORTHERN CALIFORNIA | Kathryn Howell (President and National Board Member), Bob Butler (National Board Member), Edward Vasgersian (VP Performers), Mike Pechner (VP Broadcasters), Micci Toliver (Recording Secretary), Lea Gulino, Charlie Holliday, Rika Luna, Joe Paulino SEATTLE | Rik Deskin (President), Abby Dylan (National Board Member), Maggie Stenson, Rachel Glass, April Raine TWIN CITIES | Peter Moore (President), Randal Berger (National Board Member), Bob Davis (1st Vice President) WASHINGTON–MID ATLANTIC | Lance Lewman (President), Susan Snyder (National Board Member), Joe Krebs (National Board Member and Chair, Broadcast Steering Committee), Julie Wright (Vice President), Kathryn Klvana (Secretary-Treasurer), Jack Speer, John Henrehan (Former Vice President, Broadcaster), Melissa Leebaert, Elizabeth Noone, Sheldon Smith, Ellie K. Wang.            -- (Titles are used for identification purposes only) --

Factually Answered Questions

Click the Questions Below for Answers

Are the pensions underfunded?

No, they are not.
Both are considered in the green zone with a long term plan to be fully funded.(source)

How do staff pensions work?
Can you tell me about the new Netflix deal?

This deal brought members great gains as well as leverage against the AMPTP for the upcoming TV/Theatrical negotiation.

The terms of the agreement were all drawn from the long wish list of member proposals over the last couple of years:

  • Created scale minimums for everything it produces—regardless of budget! That means no more $400/day offers from Netflix projects
  • Better theatrical residuals
  • Incorporates episodic/tv residual structure from last AMPTP negotiations which was a huge gain on the residual structure that was in existence before that
  • Covers performance capture
  • Substantially better exclusivity and options terms for performers
  • Sexual harassment protections in the contract

The proposed agreement was then brought to the TV/TH standing committee who had the authority to reject and send it back or to discuss and vote on. They discussed the deal at length and then passed it overwhelmingly.

The committee then sent it the National Board with a recommendation to approve.

The National Board passed the deal overwhelmingly. NO ONE MADE A MOTION, nor asked for it to go out to the membership, which they could have done at any time.

Does it need to be sent out to the membership?
Per the SAG-AFTRA constitution large, multi-employer contracts like commercials and the TV/TH contract automatically go out to the membership.

Single employer contracts, like this new contract with Netflix, does not have to unless the board determines it should.

Want to learn more?

There were excellent write-ups in the following magazines:
LA Business JournalThe Hollywood Reporter

What's the status of New Media residuals?
Can SAG-AFTRA unilaterally control the pension and health plans?
Should SAG-AFTRA buy or rent a building?
How is UFS leading the way on the issue of sexual harassment?

We are very proud of the work that we have been doing on this extremely important issue.

The work is ongoing, but the SAG-AFTRA website actually lists some of the many examples of what the union is doing to lead the way: 

  • Expanded our existing 24/7 safety hotline to include a specialized trauma line staffed by clinicians for those working in our jurisdiction who are experiencing, or who have suffered, sexual harassment or assault.
  • Customized, in-person training for over 100 first- and rapid-responder staff across the organization including specialized assessment and intervention training for field reps.
  • Achieved new provisions in our Commercials and Network Television Code contracts: explicit personal harassment protections and landmark language directly based on the first SAG-AFTRA sexual harassment code of conduct’s guideline calling for the end of auditions in hotels and private residences.
  • Held dozens of education and empowerment events in LA, NYC, Chicago, Georgia, Atlanta, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Oklahoma, Detroit, and other locations.
  • Hired expert staff on both coasts for intake and case management of harassment and discrimination complaints.
  • Introduced a dedicated service offering confidential crisis and short-term supportive counseling, education on individual rights and legal avenues, referrals to related resources and, when needed, referrals for other clinical services. Created through a collaborative effort of SAG-AFTRA, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, and the Actors Fund, which administers the program.
  • Advocated for the passage of crucial legislation that enhances and strengthens sexual harassment city and state laws in California, New York, Hawaii and elsewhere.
  • Sustained significant public policy efforts to go after tools of silence, expand the statute of limitations, allow independent contractors to sue, etc.
  • Sponsored and supported legislation that bans image-based sexual abuse. Specifically, two current bills that go after nonconsensual digitized nudity and sex scenes (the modern day body doubling violation).
  • Focused attention through the SAG-AFTRA podcast premiere episode: “Sexual Harassment, Have we Reached a Turning Point” and another in the first season: “Who Controls Your Rights: From Deepfakes to Resurrecting the Dead.”
  • Continued work with the International Federation of Actors (FIA) Sexual Harassment Work Group in developing a global code of conduct and guidelines to protect actors wherever they work.
  • Released the SAG-AFTRA Code of Conduct to the Actors Guild of India for their use as a template in developing sexual harassment provisions and industry standards for performers and others workers in the massive Indian film and television production business.
  • Continued our collaboration with AFL-CIO leadership and affiliated partners to create best-practice recommendations for the protection of workers across industries and geographies.
  • Advocated for global protections at the FIA executive conference in Tokyo, Japan. President and NED appeared on an expert panel on best practices in preventing sexual harassment. The conference, sponsored by the Japan Actors Union, hosted several hundred guests including ranking representatives from government, the entertainment industry, and performing artists organizations.

Full list available on the SAG-AFTRA website: https://www.sagaftra.org/sag-aftra-harassment-initiative-faq-0

What's an example of how you encourage member involvement?
What are you doing for low-budget content and member-produced content?