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SAG bracing for more election battles in fall

Only safe seats belong to Gilbert, Gould, McCord

SAG is prepped for another raucous election following its unprecedented rerun of last year’s contest.

Contest will herald a significant shift in SAG politics due to April’s approval of a plan that eliminated 44 slots from the current national board of 107 members. The plan opens all board seats — some of which would not have expired for another two years — for election this fall except for those of president Melissa Gilbert, secretary Elliot Gould and treasurer Kent McCord.

The election is likely to feature battles over such hot-button issues as the expired master franchise agreement with agents, cost-cutting, contract enforcement, runaway production and the decision to rerun last fall’s election. Also certain to be hotly debated are the presidencies of Gilbert and former prexy William Daniels, who is seeking a board seat.

Gilbert’s allies have organized under the United Screen Actors banner, while Gould and McCord have endorsed the Leadership Coalition. Gilbert has sought a moderate approach during her tenure and strongly backed easing ownership rules for agencies while Gould and McCord are adamant against any loosening of those now-expired restrictions.

“We are actively seeking an end to the divisiveness that continues to limit our union’s goals,” said the coalition.

Gilbert, Daniels spouses running

SAG has not released an official list of candidates following Wednesday’s filing deadline, but major Hollywood names emerging included Gilbert’s husband Bruce Boxleitner and Gilbert backers Mike Farrell and James Cromwell, while Leadership Coalition members include Daniels’ wife Bonnie Bartlett, Diane Ladd, Tom Bosley, Renee Taylor, Frances Fisher, Esai Morales, Seymour Cassel, Richard Crenna and Valerie Harper, who reversed her previous decision to step down.

Current board members Eugene Boggs, Richard Dreyfuss, Fred Savage and DeWayne Williams also took out petitions.

Boggs, a three-time presidential candidate, has challenged SAG’s recently enacted requirement banning any reference to SAG staff and elected officials in the 100-word brochure statement. Boggs alleges the policy amounts to censorship and a violation of federal labor law but SAG attorneys have maintained the policy is legal.

Other Leadership Coalition candidates include Brian Hamilton, Cynthia Steele, David Huddleston, Kurt McCortney, Mark Carlton, Ninon Aprea, Peggy Miley, Paul Napier, David Jolliffe, Dominic Oliver, George Coe, Gordon Drake, Jordana Capra, Julie Sanford, Karen Austin, Karl Warren, Rebeccah Bush, Richard Herd, Russell McConnell, Scott Wilson, Steve Barr and Yale Summers.

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