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What makes prexies run?

Gilbert decides not to run for third term as SAG president

If an ad agency wanted to create a credible campaign for a headache remedy, they might consider gathering together the former SAG presidents.

Melissa Gilbert announced July 21 that she was pulling her hat out of the ring for a third two-year term as president. Given the problems SAG faces, no one was especially surprised.

Even though Gilbert won elections over significant opposition — first Valerie Harper, then Kent McCord — she faced bitter infighting in SAG’s boardroom and saw a trio of referendums voted down by membership.

In a telling comment, she said, “There are rifts that may very well be irreparable.”

That’s a tone remarkably similar to that of predecessors Bill Daniels and Richard Masur.

Daniels said four years ago that he would have never run in the first place had he known how brutal the job was; Masur said in 2000 “been there, done that” when asked about another run.

Running SAG is painful for a variety of reasons, as thorny issues abound:

  • Even though a majority of members don’t work much, instituting qualified voting won’t work because it would require many members to vote to disenfranchise themselves.

  • SAG insiders worry that increasing numbers of actors may be resigning from the union by filing for “financial core” status, which allows them to work under SAG contracts and only pay dues for contract enforcement.

  • SAG’s lack of unity makes contract negotiations a huge problem. With the Guild unable to present a united front at the bargaining table, it has to settle for contracts with only moderate gains.

Still, the gig has enough glitter to attract a trio of aspirants as of the July 21 deadline: Robert Conrad, Morgan Fairchild and Alan Rosenberg.

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