news 6 months ago

Gabrielle Carteris SAG-AFTRA Re-Election Protests Denied by Department of Labor

Variety — Dave McNary

The U.S. Department of Labor has denied all protests over the re-election of Gabrielle Carteris to the SAG-AFTRA presidency in August and will not a order a re-run of the contest.

Carteris won re-election last August over opponents Matthew Modine, Jane Austin, Queen Alljahye Searles and Abraham Justice and will remain the top elected officer of the performers union. Her re-appointment sparked protests over allegations that Carteris had improperly used SAG-AFTRA resources to promote her candidacy, as well as that two episodes of Fox’s spinoff “BH90210” — in which Carteris portrayed the president of a fictional actors union –had amounted to a “not-so-subtle national commercial” for the her campaign.

“We are grateful for the thorough review conducted by the Department of Labor regarding the unfounded challenges to our election process,” SAG-AFTRA announced Tuesday. “In its decision to deny the request for a rerun of the election, the Labor Department has affirmed the integrity of our elections process and confirmed that the challenges were meritless. With all challenges now completed and dismissed, the election of Gabrielle Carteris is final. We are pleased that our thoughtful and carefully structured and administered elections process has been affirmed.”

The protests underlined the bitter divides within the union, which represents 160,000 performers. Robert Allen, an attorney for Modine’s campaign manager Adam Nelson, issued a strong statement blasting the federal government’s decision.

“This is a sad day for all workers,” he said. “The purpose of the LMRDA is to ensure that unions properly represent its members. To that end, Section 401 (29 U.S.C. § 481), is meant to guarantee fair elections, free of corruptive influences by outside parties as well as incumbent officers. In our complaint, we provided irrefutable proof of numerous instances of how Gabrielle Carteris, her party Unite for Strength, and certain union staff, engaged in a concerted effort to unduly influence and affect the recent SAG-AFTRA election. These nefarious actions violate the union’s own constitution, as well as these labor laws, and deprive every member of the union a fair and equal voice in determining the union’s leadership and future direction. We shall carefully review the reasoning for the Labor department’s refusal to move forward, and intend to challenge the department’s decision to the fullest extent possible under the law. This is by no means over.”

Carteris issued a statement blasting the opposition.

“I am grateful for the Labor Department’s comprehensive review and findings  which confirm that our union’s elections are conducted fairly and administered without bias or preference,” she said. “It is my profound hope that this result puts an end to what has been an extraordinarily divisive and aggressive period. Certain political representatives from the opposition have worked to tear our union down with death threats, inaccurate media stories, online bullying, character assassinations, and other divisive attacks. These aggressions ultimately culminated in their attempt to derail the results of our electoral process and overturn the votes of our membership.”

She added, “With so many challenges before us, it is imperative that we all focus on the important work that must be done to protect our members. I invite the remnants of the opposition campaign to cease all negative attacks and work with the duly elected leadership to truly serve the membership.”

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