Esai Morales Running For SAG-AFTRA President (EXCLUSIVE)

Esai Morales Running For SAG-AFTRA President

'NYPD Blue' thesp facing off against Howard

Esai Morales is taking on Ken Howard for the presidency of SAG-AFTRA as the head of a revived Membership First slate.

Morales, a former Screen Actors Guild national board member best known for his role in “NYPD Blue,” was in the process of gathering signatures for his nominating petition this week. Jane Austin is seeking the secretary-treasurer slot as part of the slate.

Deadline for submissions is Friday.

Variety first reported Thursday that Howard would seek a two-year term as president of the year-old performers union, which will hold its first election in July and August.

Howard and Roberta Reardon have been co-presidents of SAG-AFTRA since March, 2012, when members approved the merger of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

Ballots for the national, Los Angeles and New York elections will go out July 16 with an Aug. 15 deadline for receipt of ballots. Those contests will determine the president, secretary-treasurer and most board members; an exec VP and seven other VPs will be elected at the first SAG-AFTRA convention in late September.

The self-styled progressives in the Membership First faction did not enter a slate in the final SAG election in 2011 after being defeated convincingly by the self-described moderates of Unite for Strength, who had avidly pursued merger. Membership First lost all 13 of their open seats on the 71-member national board in 2010, including Morales, Valerie Harper, Frances Fisher, Nancy Sinatra and former SAG prexy Alan Rosenberg.

Membership First, which strongly opposed merger votes in 1999, 2003 and last year, opposed the merger on the grounds that it would take away SAG’s unique character as an actors union. It asserted during the campaigns that it would support a merger only if it excluded AFTRA’s broadcasters, journalists and recording artists.

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  1. young person says:

    Out with the old in with the new.

  2. Anthony says:

    Ooooooo…look at ALL the SAG-AFTRA trolls… no where to run now…we merged and it SUCKS!

  3. disgruntled viewer says:

    Is Essai the same Essai, who back 10-12 years ago refused to believe that AIDS was real and kept proclaiming it didn’t exist? He used to argue that point over and over. is that who we want to be our leader?

  4. I Like this Variety!

  5. .
    Now 4 candidates are running for SAG-AFTRA National President.
    In alphabetical order:

    Paul Edney
    Ken Howard
    Marilyn Monrovia
    Esai Morales

  6. Zippy says:

    The first question I would ask Membership First is, “Why?”. The current group got merger accomplished, got a GREAT deal on the commercials contract (contrary to all their fear mongering that it would be nothing but “cavers”!). Why would we ever let them have the keys back?
    We are about to negotiate the first merged tv/theatrical contract. We have a chance to get it right. We left them in charge of the house and they drew all over walls and smeared their waste on it as well. Then, they broke all the furniture and started a fire.
    Then the adults came home.
    The adults fixed the house up. Cleaned the feces off the table. Hosed down all the poo and cray-pas. Got it nice and shiny and merged it with the house next door so now we have the biggest, best, shiniest, nicest house on the block.
    Please don’t let the children take over again.
    Why do they want this? What is it about a group that accomplishes NOTHING, takes us to war every chance they get, sues the union on the members’ dimes over and over, that makes them think they should be in charge?
    The mind reels.
    Please vote for ABE.
    Anyone But Esai.

  7. Clear as Day says:

    Is this some sort of prank or hoax? Esai Morales, Alan Rosenberg and the rest of Membership First helped to almost destroy SAG and make it the laughing stock of the entertainment industry. A vote for Esai is like a vote for Alan Rosenberg. No thank you. Oh, and Membership First is about as “Progressive” as Chick-fil-A.

  8. Chris says:

    I voted for Rosenberg and regretted it. He (and MF) was a disaster.

    Morales has aligned himself with MF and he’ll never win.

    All I recall of the MF years were lots of mass e-mails from Rosenberg signed “In solidarity” while he (and his MF supporters) were busy screwing up everything–contracts, AFTRA relations, agency relations, production company relations, studio relations (you get the picture.)

    Morales and his MF colleagues were living in (and still are, as far as I can tell) a fantasy world where they believed they had all the leverage in the world and could snarl at all their enemies (anyone who dared disagree with them) and get what they wanted.

    They were wrong.

    SAG-show after SAG-show simply walked away and organized under the much-cheaper AFTRA contract. We’re still paying for their mistakes and miscalculations. And will be for years to come. MF is the Tea Party of SAG–not in ideology–but in tactics and cluelessness.

    We’re well rid of them and there litigious addiction.

  9. Pan says:

    Going back to this “cabal” or self anointed “slate” is a terrible idea. Actors will remember the loss of wages caused by contract delays. The pointless lawsuits filed by this group against us, the actors. . These people hurt us. They aggressively drove away business. Easi Morales seems to be a bright guy. It’s ashamed that he is aligning himself with this crooked and secretive group.

  10. Tom Ligon says:

    What would ever be “progressive” about Membership First? They have always been old-school obstructionists. They brought not a single positive or progressive action to SAG when they ran it.

  11. Sheffield Chastain says:

    Also, I don’t think Mr. Morales is a current Board member. If memory serves, he failed to garner enough votes to gain a Board seat in the last election. That should tell you something.

  12. Tom Ligon says:

    Esai Morales is NOT a National Board member. he couldn’t get the votes.

  13. Sheffield Chastain says:

    Is this really the direction we want to go in? The MF years were riddle with misstep after misstep.

    And a large contingency of the MF crew are currently suing us, again!

    It’s just hard to fathom any good could come of this.

  14. Tommy Conntra says:

    Holy Crap!! I thought the disastrous days of Membership First was over. Do we really want to go back to the dark ages??? These guys ran this union into the ground, and Morales was a huge part of that. Zero contracts negotiated. Drove the producers to AFTRA. Killed the agency agreement. The list goes on and on. I’m surprised this guy is even showing his face. It’s probably because he’s the only member of MF they can put up who isn’t currently suing the union and wasting our dues money.

    This is a joke, right?

  15. Tom Ligon says:

    Why are Esai Morales’ Membership First slate-mates bringing the same tired lawsuit against SAG-AFTRA again and again and again?

  16. Yikes! Membership First breaks everything that they get. You do not want these “self-styled progressives” near anything in SAG-AFTRA.

  17. Tom Ligon says:

    The self-styled progressives of the Membership First faction were unable to conclude a single significant negotiation when they held all the power in SAG eight years ago. The same people are running on the same slate with this fellow.

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