Violations Overturn AFTRA Election
The following press release is from AFTRA. I have added a few, ah, clarifying comments.
AFTRA LOS ANGELES TO RERUN BOARD ELECTION
Voting for Local Actor and National Board Members Slated for Early 2008
Following an investigation by both the Los Angeles Local of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the United States Department of Labor, AFTRA Los Angeles will rerun its 2007 election for nine actor representatives on the Local Board of Directors and for 13 of the Locals
representatives to the AFTRA National Board of Directors. AFTRA member voting will be held in early 2008.
Gosh, a joint venture? If you didn’t know better it would sound like AFTRA was at the forefront of this whole investigation thingy. Hello. If AFTRA had truly investigated and decided to rerun the election, the member challenging this election wouldn’t have had to go to the Department of Labor.
The investigations were prompted by a challenge to the May 2007 election results made by a candidate. While the allegations in the original challenge were not sustained by the U.S. Department of Labor, during the course of the investigation, it was determined that Pacific Election Services Inc., the outside vendor hired by the union to oversee the Los Angeles election, made several errors in the mailing and processing of ballots.
Really? Well, we know one error that was discovered before the investigation. How do we know? Well, because AFTRA sent out the following postcard. It was sent AFTER the ballots were sent out. It admits errors on a ballot. The ballot failed to to remind voters that they could vote for No More than 13 candidates.
The company will reimburse AFTRA Los Angeles for all costs incurred for the May 2007 election, and a new vendor will be engaged to provide election services, effective immediately. The Department of Labor will oversee the rerun.
Hmmm, seems like AFTRA will have a lot more in common with their buddies at the AMPTP than they bargained for. Both will be involved in reruns. The good thing to come out of this rerun is that it means that in the re-run election, AFTRA will not be able to pull any of the shenanigans that they pulled in the previous election. (See story below)
“Assuring our members a fair and proper election is a top priority for AFTRA Los Angeles. When we learned of these errors by our outside vendor, we advised the Department of Labor the union would voluntarily rerun this election to guarantee the integrity of the election process,” said William Thomas, AFTRA Los Angeles Local Executive Director.
If you think AFTRA did this voluntarily, I got some Miami Dolphin playoff tickets, I can let you have real cheap. The Ol’ Dog’s information is that AFTRA fought them tooth and nail the whole way. As for the Department of Labor, it gives violators the opportunity to volunteer to correct violations before proceeding. You better believe AFTRA volunteered!
A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief
If you want to know more about what caused this challenge, the following is a story the Ol Dog posted at the time.
In the annals of guild elections, the current AFTRA Slug Fest has to rank up there for election violations and screw-ups. If not the most flagrantthe most bizarre.
Although acknowledging that he shouldn’t be commenting during the election, (like the big trout that can’t ignore the floating fly) John Hinrichs, AFTRA’s national director of communications, couldn’t help himself and went for the bait-and interjected himself uttering comments that backed one slate’s contention over another.
In what has to be one of the most bizarre violations in AFTRA’s election history, a member of the AFTRA nominating committee that helped pick the aftraleadership slate, sent out an email in which she volunteered to come by members houses and fill out their ballots.
You got to admit it’s kind of funny. The election Hat Trick: You pick the candidates, campaign for them, and then go to voters houses and vote for them. Although, I must admit, when I talked to the Labor board, they didn’t seem to see the humor in it. (She later retracted her offer)
And now it has been revealed that several mistakes where made on the ballot.
One delegate candidate had his name left off the ballot and when he complained, he was told, ah, ah, okay, you’re in. Yes, my friends, democracy AFTRA style.
On one ballot they forgot to remind voters that they can vote for No More than 13 candidates. At least, I, I think they forgot! Either way ballots with too many ballots in any of the categories will be discarded.
And no I never heard back from NED Kim Hedgepath on my request to see AFTRA contracts to discern if AFTRA spokesperson Hinrichs was telling the truth when he said AFTRA doesn’t undercut SAG contracts.
What are they hiding?
Oh, well, not to worry, I’m sure I’ll be allowed to view them, and report to you AFTER the election. Yeah, once again AFTRA democracy in action!
A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief
Here’s that AFTRA postcard that probably came too late for most of you voters! If you think you voted for too many candidates request another ballot, they may give you another ballot, ah, ah, long as you don’t ask to see any of those confidential contracts.
This from the Hollywood Reporter
AFTRA races rerun in SAG tiff
By Carl DiOrio
Dec 17, 2007
In yet another fracas arising from its disputes with SAG, AFTRA announced Sunday that its has been ordered by the U.S. Labor Department to rerun races for 13 of its national board seats.
The decision follows a complaint by an unnamed failed candidate for one of the board seats, who well-placed sources say is a dual cardholder in SAG and AFTRA. Several members of SAG holding AFTRA memberships had sought AFTRA board seats in an effort to influence that union’s policy that some in SAG have found objectionable, largely in the area of cable-TV organizing.
The AFTRA statement said that the national seats all involve Los Angeles reps on the national board and that seven Los Angeles local board seats also were vacated by the Labor Department.
“While the allegations in the original challenge were not sustained (the Labor Department) determined that Pacific Election Services Inc., the outside vendor hired by the union to oversee the Los Angeles election, made several errors in the mailing and processing of ballots,” AFTRA said.
The new round of voting will be held in “early 2008,” the performers union said.