February 5, 2012 Posted by REJ
This is a perfect example of reading between the lines. If merger passes, U4S, the AFTRA Leadership Team, and USAN will be in complete control of the national and local boards, (specifically the Hollywood Board and the Hollywood seats on the new national board) and the presidency and secretary/treasurer posts, until late spring 2013. Including 5 new officer positions ordained by the merger agreement. ”How could that be”, you ask. Well, read page 6 of the merger agreement.
Page 6. B. Initial National Officers
“1. The Initial National Officers of SAG-AFTRA shall consist of co- Presidents (the current AFTRA and SAG Presidents,U4S’sHoward and Aftra Leadership Teams’ Reardon), co-Secretary- Treasurers (the current SAG Secretary-Treasurer U4S’s Amy Aquino and the AFTRA Treasurer U4S’s Matt Kimbrough), an Executive Vice President (the current SAG First National Vice President; U4S’s Ned Vaughn), a Vice President from the largest Local (the current AFTRA Second National Vice President; U4S’s and AFTRA Leadership Team’s Gabrielle Carteris), a Vice President from the second largest Local (the current SAG Second National Vice President; USAN’s Mike Hodge), a Vice President from the Mid-size Locals (a current AFTRA Vice President; Aftra Leadership Team’s Holter Graham) and a Vice President from the Small Locals (the current SAG Third National Vice President; U4S’s David Hartley Margolin), as those terms are defined in the SAG-AFTRA Constitution, an Actor/Performer Vice President (the current SAG Hollywood Division First Vice Chair; U4S’s Michael O’Keefe), a Broadcaster Vice President (a current AFTRA Vice President*) and a Recording Artist Vice President (a current AFTRA Vice President*). *The AFTRA co-President ( Aftra Leadership Team’s Reardon) shall appoint the Broadcaster, Recording Artist and Mid-size Local Vice Presidents from among the current AFTRA National Officers. (All members of the AFTRA Leadership Team) 2. The Initial SAG-AFTRA National Officers shall have the authority to perform the duties set forth in Article VI of the SAG-AFTRA Constitution. They shall hold office until the commencement of the terms of office of the SAG-AFTRA National Officers elected pursuant to this Agreement and the SAG-AFTRA Constitution.”So, instead of holding general elections for most of these seats in August of 2012, these folks will be guaranteed their seats until spring of 2013 and beyond. Basically, U4S, The AFTRA Leadership Team and USAN, who had an overwhelming hold on all but 1 of the 36 voting seats of the G1 (the committee responsible for drafting the merger agreements) have created a way to hold onto their leadership positions for almost a year beyond the traditional voting period. Very clever.
Voting “yes” for merger not only expands the control and irrevocable authority to the fund trustees to do whatever they will with SAG’s pension and health plans, it also guarantees the U4S/USAN/AFTRA Teams current leadership extended control over the needs and concerns of SAG actors. Very Dick Chaney/ Karl Rove of them, don’t you think?
The national board seats of the new unions initial period, (including all of the alternates) will be comprised of the very same people who are seated right this very minute. So, for better or for worse, (and we are sure it’s for worse) if merger passes, U4S zealots like Ken Howard, Ned Vaughn and Amy Aquino will remain in power well until spring/summer 2013 without a membership vote. AFTRA Leadership crazies like Matt Kimbrough, Holter Graham and the craziest of them all Madam Gabrielle Carteris, will be flaunting their dubious power until spring/summer 2013. And all of the New York USAN board members and officers will be seated right next to them for the same amount of time. And this is also true for the small number of MembershipFirst board members still clinging to their diminished positions on both unions national and local boards.
And don’t forget, if merger passes, the new constitution will allow the national board to approve the payment of salaries for board members and officers. (pg 29: “SAG-AFTRA Employees. No employee working for the Union shall be eligible to serve as a National Officer, a member of the National Board, Local Board, Wages and Working Conditions Committee, Negotiating Committee or delegate to the Convention provided, however, that the National Board may establish policies and procedures defining who shall be considered a Union employee for purposes of this provision.”). Meaning, the new national board can decide that paying board members and/or officers would not place the elected in the same category of “SAG-AFTRA employees”, allowing the board to approve payment for services. That’s how AFTRA got away with paying President Roberta Reardon a monthly payment of $3,500 per month over a year ago. Word has it that payment for the elected was a “must have” for the AFTRA members of the G1. Apparently SAG members of the G1 weren’t so keen on the idea, fearing it could be one of the many reasons merger wouldn’t pass muster with the membership. It appears AFTRA prevailed and it could mean that Reardon could continue to receive her $3,500 per month.
When asked about this new constitutional provision during the Jan 27th SAG board meeting, SAG lawyer Crabtree-Ireland confirmed that this provision would indeed allow the board to decide to pay officers and board members. A perk that is completely and thoroughly prohibited in the SAG constitution and something the members at large won’t have the opportunity to vote up or vote down. We see this power grab so over-reaching and insidious, that we can only encourage SAG members to carefully read the fine print and not be fooled by the “merger’s going to be great!!” postings of the likes of Michael O’Keefe (who by the way was MIA on January 22nd when the boards reviewed the merger documents and January 27th, when SAG’s national board reviewed, debated and voted on the merger agreements), Bobbi “I’ve Always Publicly Endorsed A Tv/Theatrical Contract No Matter How Bad It Was” Bates, Alan “Duplicitous and Self Serving” Lulu and other ”I know this isn’t the best merger plan and I know we can’t answer a ton of questions about what’s going to happen to your pension and health and I have a lot of concerns with myself, but what else can we do”, advocates. Don’t trust them or this merger attempt.
Yikes! The Ol’ Watchdog!