Actor part of Membership First majority

Backing SAG’s current hardline stance against the congloms, Keith Carradine will run for the guild’s national board. He’s the first of several high-profile thesps expected to enter the upcoming election. Ballots go out in late August.

Carradine will be part of the Hollywood-based Membership First slate, which has a narrow majority on the 71-seat national board. The election — which will have an impact on about a third of the board seats — is expected to focus on how SAG president Alan Rosenberg has handled negotiations on SAG’s now-expired feature-primetime contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers.

Both sides appear to have settled in for a summerlong stalemate, with SAG insisting it must achieve a better deal than the DGA, WGA and AFTRA and the AMPTP maintaining that it’s not budging from its 3-week-old final offer.

Carradine spoke in favor of current SAG leadership at a June 9 rally at guild headquarters. The event was staged to build support for voting down the AFTRA primetime deal, which was approved two weeks ago.

“I’m here for one reason — I’m a union man,” Carradine said at that rally. “Members of the negotiating committee are working their hearts out, and what they’re asking for is eminently fair and eminently equitable.”

Deadline for submitting nominating petitions for the board slots is Thursday. SAG isn’t expected to announce candidates until Aug. 5 due to the need to verify petition signatures.

High-profile members usually come out on top in SAG elections. The top vote-getters among 50 candidates in last fall’s election for Hollywood seats finished in this order: Seymour Cassel, Valerie Harper, Frances Fisher, Esai Morales, Kent McCord and Nancy Sinatra.

Other high-profile board members include Justine Bateman, Joanna Cassidy, Morgan Fairchild, Elliot Gould, Lainie Kazan and Diane Ladd.

This year has seen stars become more involved than usual in SAG politics. After the WGA strike ended in February, SAG’s go-slow approach to negotiations prompted George Clooney, Robert De Niro, Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep to ask for bargaining to begin as soon as possible.

In addition, Amy Brenneman spearheaded a petition drive that drew more than 1,500 signatories — including Sally Field and Charlie Sheen — to ask for a “working in the trade” requirement for voting on SAG contracts. SAG’s national board decided this spring to refer the qualified voting question to committee after Rosenberg declared the effort undemocratic and asserted that he would not support such a move.

During the battle over the AFTRA ratification, the pro-SAG side received support from Holly Hunter, Jack Nicholson, Martin Sheen and Ben Stiller while the pro-AFTRA side was backed by Alec Baldwin, Hanks, Susan Sarandon and Kevin Spacey.

SAG has not scheduled a strike authorization vote, nor has it complied with repeated requests by the AMPTP to send the final offer to members for approval.

Rosenberg and SAG national exec director Doug Allen have said they won’t send a deal to members unless the negotiating committee endorses the offer.

SAG will lose a $10 million sweetener provision in retroactive pay if its members fail to ratify the final offer by Aug. 15. It still has enough time to retain the provision if the guild’s national board, which meets Saturday, approves sending to deal to the 120,000 members and a majority OK the deal.

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