I attended the National Board meeting in Los Angeles in April and two in-person meetings of the Executive Committee, also in Los Angeles. At the April board meeting, Gabrielle Carteris was elected to replace the late Ken Howard as president by acclamation in a historic National Board vote.
Howard, who passed away March 23, was the first elected president of the merged SAG-AFTRA, and the first president of either SAG or AFTRA to die in office. Under the union’s constitution, Executive Vice President Carteris assumed his duties until the regularly scheduled National Board meeting April 9, during which she was elected to serve the balance of Howard’s term. Howard was reelected to a two-year term Aug. 20, 2015.
The National Board also elected Rebecca Damon to serve as executive vice president in a historic decision that means for the first time the top three SAG-AFTRA officers are women.
The National Board unanimously approved the deal reached with the ad industry April 3 on new television, audio and digital commercials contracts. The membership likewise passed the deal by a very large margin. Formal negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and the advertising industry began on Feb. 17 and concluded April 3.
In other business, the National Board received reports, including:
President Carteris paid tribute to Howard and vowed to carry on his work while redoubling her commitment to the membership. She also reported to the board that a SAG-AFTRA mobile app will launch later this year.
National Executive Director’s Report
National Executive Director David White shared memories of working side-by-side with Howard. He then reported to the board on the union’s member and customer service initiative, and provided a progress update on the development of a mobile app for members. White updated members on the progress of the President’s Task Force on Education, Outreach & Engagement, and the A Call to Arts partnership with the White House and with AFI. White reported on the success of SAG-AFTRA’s recent New York Salon Dinner honoring the Ghetto Film School and David O. Russell, a chief patron of the school. White also discussed the union’s efforts to advance the issue of diversity and inclusion in its hiring practices, and praised the efforts of its Human Resources and senior management teams in this critical initiative.
Secretary-Treasurer Jane Austin and Chief Financial Officer Arianna Ozzanto presented the fiscal year 2017 projected budget, indicating that it is expected to yield a larger surplus compared to FY16 budget due to increased revenue.
Legal and Governance Report
Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel Duncan Crabtree-Ireland reported on Executive Committee actions and provided an update on several governance and administrative recommendations, including local constitutional amendments and other matters.
The board also passed by acclamation a motion to name the Membership Services Center in the Los Angeles national headquarters the Ken Howard Membership Center, and to rename the New York Board Room the Ken Howard Boardroom.
The board also approved the reestablishment of the Howard Keel Award, which honors members from locals outside of New York and Los Angeles who have given extraordinary service to the union and its members.
The meeting concluded at 2:15 p.m., Sunday, April 10.
I attended the most recent National Board meeting in L.A. in July. A report of that meeting will be forthcoming.