Members Re-Elect Ken Howard President of SAG-AFTRA
Jane Austin Elected Secretary-Treasurer
Los Angeles (Aug. 20, 2015) — SAG-AFTRA members have elected two of the union’s top ranking officers, choosing Ken Howard as president and Jane Austin as secretary-treasurer. Their two-year terms begin today.
Ballots for the national officers election were mailed to 139,313 eligible voters on July 21, 2015, and 30,263 were returned today, for a return of 21.72 percent. Howard received 16,233 votes, with Patricia Richardson receiving 13,976 votes. In the election for secretary-treasurer, Austin was elected to the position with 15,772 votes and Jenny O’Hara received 14,143 votes.
To view the results, click here.
President Howard said, "Serving the members of Screen Actors Guild and now SAG-AFTRA has been one of the greatest privileges of my life as an actor. I am honored and grateful to the members for their confidence in our team. From merger to contract gains and beyond, we have together built a strong union that is focused on economic security and opportunity for members. But the fight to protect performers is never over and I am eager to continue it. I thank the members for their support and I'm excited to get back to work."
Secretary-Treasurer Austin said, “The union’s financial well-being is key to its success, and I want to thank the members for entrusting me with this tremendous responsibility. Working with President Howard and the National Board, I am confident we can ensure a strong and secure future for members.”
A working actor for more than 40 years, Howard has an extensive resume that includes work on television, movies and the stage. An Emmy and Tony Award winner, he helped create and starred in The White Shadow from 1978 – 1982, and has had recurring roles on 30 Rock, Dynasty, Melrose Place and Crossing Jordan. He is the author of the book Act Natural, and serves as the chancellor of the National Kidney Foundation. Howard was first elected national president of Screen Actors Guild in 2009. Re-elected in 2011, Howard was named co-president of SAG-AFTRA when the two unions merged on March 30, 2012, and became the union’s first elected president in August 2013.
Austin is an experienced stunt performer who owns Hollywood Stuntworks. She has appeared in numerous films, including Wayne’s World 2, two of the Naked Gun movies and Superhero Movie. On television, she has worked on Justified, True Blood, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and V.I.P. She has served 12 years on SAG-AFTRA’s board and the boards of its predecessor unions. She has also chaired the Stunt Committee and served on the National Executive, Communications and Disciplinary Review committees.
SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director David White welcomed the officers saying:
“I would like to extend my congratulations to all of the officers elected today. I am especially pleased to welcome President Howard and newly-elected Secretary-Treasurer Jane Austin. The staff and I are eager to partner with them, and elected leaders from across the country, on the many challenges and opportunities ahead."
Ballots for the union’s two largest locals, Los Angeles and New York, were also counted Thursday. Jane Austin was elected president of the Los Angeles Local. Mike Hodge was re-elected president of the New York Local.
To see all election results, visit sagaftra.org/2015elections.
The union’s No. 2 position, executive vice president, as well the seven vice president positions, will be elected by delegates at SAG-AFTRA’s biennial convention, which takes place in Los Angeles on Oct. 1-4.
SAG-AFTRA represents approximately 160,000 actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other media professionals. SAG-AFTRA members are the faces and voices that entertain and inform America and the world. With national offices in Los Angeles and New York and local offices nationwide, SAG-AFTRA members work together to secure the strongest protections for media artists into the 21st century and beyond. Visit SAG-AFTRA online at SAGAFTRA.org. Follow SAG-AFTRA on Twitter (twitter.com/sagaftra), YouTube (youtube.com/sagaftra) and Facebook (facebook.com/sagaftra).