Fran Drescher has been elected president of SAG-AFTRA and, in a split decision, her opponent’s running mate, Joely Fisher, has been elected national secretary-treasurer. Drescher defeated Matthew Modine, who was making his second bid for the presidency, but her running mate, Anthony Rapp, lost to Fisher. It may be the first split ticket for the union, and could be just the medicine for a union badly divided.
Drescher, who was running at the top of the ruling party’s Unite for Strength ticket, was endorsed by Gabrielle Carteris, who defeated Modine for the union’s top elected post two years ago but did not seek re-election this time.
The Nanny alum, who hasn’t held union office until now, ran a spirited campaign. She posted upbeat videos for candidates she backed in local races all across the country, while embracing a progressive platform that promised to put more money into members’ pockets through tougher contract negotiations, protect their pension and health benefits and continue the fight against sexual harassment and for greater inclusion and diversity.
Fran Drescher On Running For SAG-AFTRA President: “Everything That I Have Done In My Life Has Led Me To This One Defining Moment” – Q&A
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She also got a big boost from Tom Hanks, who said in his endorsement that “the future of SAG-AFTRA is streaming. Members deserve stronger contracts, more residuals, better protections, and ending unfair exclusivity. I’m supporting Unite for Strength, Fran, Anthony, and their entire team.”
The union, with its long history of dissenting opinions, has been divided along internal party lines for decades. Today, both camps are politically progressive, with one observer likening their oft-public feuds to two groups of Democrats battling it out in a primary. And while both sides call for unity, their infighting also can be seen as the signature of a vibrant and democratic union.
Drescher and Modine both have said that they hope that the factionalism will end.
“I see reunification as one great and powerful SAG-AFTRA body as the only way to frontline for empowering and protecting members,” she told Deadline in July at the start of her campaign. “Whether it’s compensation, residuals, safety protections, enforcement, protections from harassment, legislative advocacy, increasing work opportunities, working with our sister organizations in the industry, expanding work opportunities and making sure our contracts stay ahead of technological changes—as the vanguard of the industry, united we stand.”
Fran Drescher’s SAG-AFTRA Slate Doubles Down On “Defamatory” Claim That Matthew Modine’s Camp Violated Union’s Election Rules
Modine said recently that if elected, he’d work to “eliminate those factions, to bring people together, to erase the aisle so that you don’t have to reach across the aisle, and change that philosophical difference in the room and remind people who they’re working for – they’re working for the members.”
But this year’s national election has been particularly acrimonious, with Drescher claiming that Modine’s MembershipFirst slate “think it’s okay to violate the law and that the rules don’t apply to them.” Modine called the claim false and defamatory, and threatened to sue if she didn’t apologize in 24 hours. She didn’t, and so far, he hasn’t sued.
MORE TO COME
Fran Drescher Supporters Win Big In SAG-AFTRA National Board Races In New England & New Mexico
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