David White National Executive Director, 2019 SAG-AFTRA National Convention

Recipients of George Heller Memorial Award Announced
American Scene Awards Winners Honored

Los Angeles (Oct. 12, 2019) – National Executive Director David White opened day two of the fourth biennial SAG-AFTRA National Convention with a presentation to delegates from around the country. White discussed the newly renegotiated Commercials Contracts, the union’s successful strike against BBH and its successful efforts against third party signatories stating, “we’re easy to work with, hard to fight.”

White reviewed member growth earnings and the numerous negotiations undertaken these last two years in SAG-AFTRA’s broadcasting, music, audiobook and video games contracts. The union’s landmark deal with Netflix was also highlighted. “Performance capture is covered on our terms under this contract and that’s a tremendous success for our members,” he said.

White also spotlit SAG-AFTRA’s success in public radio organizing, its efforts at organizing Spanish-language media as well as the union’s on-going fights against the Spanish Broadcasting System and IMDb. He also reviewed the union’s recent legislative victories in the areas of sexual harassment including the union’s work with intimacy coordinators, its digital image rights campaign against “deepfakes” as well as the bipartisan passage of the Music Modernization Act. SeeHer, the union’s latest partnership with the Association of National Advertisers calling for gender equality in commercials, was also discussed.

Regarding SAG-AFTRA’s ongoing progress in its myriad initiatives, White said, “it does not happen overnight, it does not happen with a single action. Success doesn't happen without controversy, but it does happen, we have power, we have agency and we must not forget that.”

In addition to White’s report, delegates worked through several resolutions and attended afternoon panels and workshops. In the evening, delegates were invited to attend a special screening of the film A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.

On Friday night, at the union’s Casino Unconventionale gala, staff member Duncan Crabtree-Ireland and members Gabrielle Carteris and Rebecca Damon were recipients of the George Heller Memorial Award gold cards in recognition for their outstanding contributions to SAG-AFTRA and its members.

The George Heller Memorial Award is presented every two years at convention and bestowed based on contributions and years of service to SAG-AFTRA or its predecessor unions. Recipients are selected by a subcommittee comprised of past recipients and National Honors and Tributes Committee members from around the country. This year’s recipients are:

  • Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel
    Crabtree-Ireland serves as chief operating officer and general counsel of SAG-AFTRA and is responsible for broad operational oversight and organizational accountability. Crabtree-Ireland oversees the legal aspects of collective bargaining and contract enforcement for all SAG-AFTRA collective bargaining agreements, as well as SAG-AFTRA’s legal, government affairs, professional representatives, international affairs, governance and diversity operations. Previously, Crabtree-Ireland served as Screen Actors Guild's deputy national executive director and general counsel and as a deputy district attorney for the County of Los Angeles. 


  • Gabrielle Carteris, SAG-AFTRA President
    Carteris was re-elected SAG-AFTRA president on August 28, 2019. She was previously elected president in 2016 and served as executive vice president from 2013-2016. She is the chair of the National TV/Theatrical Contracts Negotiating Committee and leads the President’s Task Force on Education, Outreach and Engagement. Carteris was elected in August 2016 as a vice president on the AFL-CIO’s executive council, re-elected in 2017 and co-leads a sexual harassment workgroup. She also is a founding ambassador of ReFrame, an initiative of Women In Film and Sundance Institute to further gender parity in the media industry. In 2017, Carteris was appointed commissioner to the Industrywide Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace.

    In 2008, Carteris served the Screen Actors Guild as fifth alternate national director, in 2009 as first alternate national director and in 2010 she began a three-year term as a national board member. Her previous American Federation of Television and Radio Artists service includes two consecutive terms on the AFTRA Los Angeles Local Board and the AFTRA National Board, three terms as an AFTRA convention delegate in the actor category and, in 2011, she was elected Los Angeles Local president and national second vice president. She was a part of the G1 (Group for One Union) and helped with developing the plan to merge SAG and AFTRA. She also served SAG-AFTRA during the transition year as national vice president, Los Angeles. She was also listed on Variety’s Power of Women L.A. Impact Report 2016 and on The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Power 100 list in 2016 and 2017.


  • Rebecca Damon, Executive Vice President and New York Local President
    Damon was first elected SAG-AFTRA executive vice president, the union’s second-highest office, in April 2016. She was re-elected to a two-year term in October 2017 and again on Oct. 11, 2019. A New York-based actor and voiceover performer, Damon was also appointed by the board in November 2017 to serve as president of the New York Local. She is national chair of the Government Review Committee, chair of the MOVE New York Committee, and serves on the Executive, Finance and Government Affairs and Public Policy committees. Currently serving on the President’s Task Force on Education, Outreach and Engagement and as chair of the Member Outreach Relations & Education Committee, she is a fierce advocate for education and empowerment of performers nationwide. 

    A champion for workers’ rights, Damon’s leadership includes strengthening New York’s right of publicity and digital image rights for the benefit of all members. She is a recipient of the New York LaborPress Leadership Award, Irish Echo Connecting America Award and SAG-AFTRA New York Local’s Joseph C. Riley Award. Recently, City & State New York recognized Damon in its Labor Power 100 list for her longstanding dedication and support of SAG-AFTRA members and the labor movement at large

The 2019 SAG-AFTRA American Scene Awards were also presented at the gala in three categories:

  • Belva Davis News & Broadcast Award: NPR for It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders; presented by the show’s associate producer, Anjuli Sastry, to NPR Senior Director of ProgrammingSteve Nelson.
  • Entertainment Award: A24 and Hyphen LLC for Hulu Original Series Ramy; presented by Ramy actress May Calamawy to Hulu Head of Talent and Casting Barbara Fiorentino and A24 Television Executive Alli Reich.
  • Music & Sound Recordings Award: Sony Music Entertainment/Columbia Recordsfor Lil Nas X’s Old Town Road (feat. Billy Ray Cyrus) [Remix Single]; presented by SAG-AFTRA Diversity Advisory Committee Chair Jason George to Columbia Records Urban Music Senior Vice President and Co-headPhylicia Fant.

The SAG-AFTRA National Convention concludes tomorrow with officer reports and the Committee of Locals meeting at the Beverly Hilton. For more information about the SAG-AFTRA National Convention, please visit SAGAFTRACONVENTION.org.

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