×

Patricia Richardson on SAG-AFTRA Election: ‘Ken Howard Does Not Get a Mandate’

SAG-AFTRA’s political battles are going to intensify in the wake of an improved showing in Thursday’s election by the opposition Membership First faction.

Ken Howard was re-elected to a two-year term to the presidency over “Home Improvement” star Patricia Richardson with 53.7% of the vote with 16,233 votes to Richardson’s 13,976 — a margin far closer than in the 2013 race when Howard handily defeated Esai Morales.

And Howard’s running mate Jenny O’Hara lost to Membership First’s Jane Austin for the secretary-treasurer slot. Austin also defeated Howard’s ally Clyde Kusatsu for the presidency of the Los Angeles local.

Ken Howard does not get a mandate from this election,” Richardson told Variety. “This puts a lot more pressure on him to push harder in negotiations.”

Howard’s Unite For Strength slate has dominated SAG-AFTRA since it was created in 2012 and in the last three years of SAG. The actor, best known for “The White Shadow,” has espoused a path of moderation and largely avoided mobilizing the union’s 165,000 members.

Howard and his allies touted their accomplishments in the campaign, citing contract gains in last year’s successor deal for the master contract with producers and faster delivery of residuals, while Membership First asserted that Howard had been too accommodating to employers at negotiations, had overspent on the New York offices, had cloaked operations in secrecy and had not achieved gains in the booming digital sector.

Membership First, which has long advocated a more confrontational style, was in power from 2005 to 2009 before Howard was elected to the SAG presidency on a platform of merger and moderation. The faction lost power in the next three elections with only a few prominent reps such as Martin Sheen, Joanna Cassidy, Morales and Richardson remaining on the national board.

But the faction made its best showing since 2007 on Thursday with Austin’s victories and Ed Asner, Diane Ladd, Frances Fisher, David Jolliffe, Robin Riker and Jodi Long winning seats on the 70-member national board. It also has upped its share of the Los Angeles local board to 40%.

“It’s a bit embarrassing for me to lose but we got so much traction from members that we’ve got something to build on,” Richardson said. “I did this because there are so many actors who can’t make a living. I’m doing this for what I used to be.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Issa Rae Portrait

    Issa Rae Developing Re-Imagining of Crime Thriller 'Set It Off'

    “Insecure” star and co-creator Issa Rae is in early development on a re-imagining of New Line’s crime thriller “Set If Off,” which starred Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Vivica Fox and Kimberly Elise. Rae will produce with plans to star in the project. Syreeta Singleton and Nina Gloster have been hired to pen the script. [...]

  • Thomas Golubic8th Annual Guild of Music

    Guild of Music Supervisors President: 'The Economics of the Job Don't Work Anymore'

    The Guild of Music Supervisors (GMS) hosted its 5th annual “State of Music in Media” conference on Saturday, Sept. 15, at the Los Angeles Film School. Featuring a wide array of panel discussions on all manner of issues related to music in film, television and advertising, the confab drew top composers, music supervisors, licensing and [...]

  • Gay Chorus Deep South

    Film News Roundup: Documentary 'Gay Chorus Deep South' Bought for Awards Season Release

    In today’s film news roundup, the documentaries “Gay Chorus Deep South” and “Tread” find homes, Tobin Bell’s latest horror film completes production and Emilio Insolera joins “355.” ACQUISITIONS MTV Documentary Films has acquired “Gay Chorus Deep South” for release during the fall for awards season consideration. Directed by David Charles Rodrigues, the film world premiered [...]

  • Bad Education

    What 'Bad Education' Taught Us About the Slow Toronto Film Festival Market

    “Bad Education,” a dramedy starring Hugh Jackman as the embezzling superintendent of district of schools in Long Island, N.Y., was set to be this year’s “I, Tonya.” The movie has the same biting tone, shifting between comedy and tragedy. It received strong reviews out of the Toronto Film Festival. And like “I, Tonya,” it even [...]

  • For web story

    Toronto: Sony Pictures Classics Buys 'The Burnt Orange Heresy' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sony Pictures Classics has nabbed the rights to “The Burnt Orange Heresy,” Variety has learned. The indie label plans to release the film in 2020. The Italian-American thriller was directed by Giuseppe Capotondi and stars Claes Bang, Elizabeth Debicki, Mick Jagger and Donald Sutherland. Scott Smith adapted Charles Willeford’s novel of the same name, transporting [...]

  • Thomasin McKenzie and Essie Davis

    Thomasin McKenzie and Essie Davis to Star in 'Justice of Bunny King'

    Essie Davis, star of “The Babadook” and autumn festival hit “Babyteeth,” and “Jojo Rabbit” co-star Thomasin McKenzie will headline upcoming drama “The Justice of Bunny King.” The film, now shooting in New Zealand, is a triumph over adversity tale about women fighting their way back from the bottom of society. It is the debut feature [...]

  • Calm With Horses

    Nick Rowland Talks About Toronto Debut Film 'Calm With Horses'

    “Calm with Horses,” which made its world premiere in Toronto’s TIFF in the Discovery section, is the feature directorial debut of Nick Rowland (Amazon series “Ripper Street”), and stars Barry Keoghan (Marvel’s upcoming “The Eternals,” “Dunkirk”), Cosmo Jarvis (“Annihilation”), and Niamh Algar (BBC’s “The Virtues”). The script, which was adapted from Colin Barrett’s short story [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content