SAG-AFTRA presidential candidate Matthew Modine says the union “cannot survive” two extra years of the sacrifices that the present management has requested members to make and in contrast a vote for his rival Fran Drescher – who’s making her first run for union office – to a vote for a former U.S. president “who said he’d be great because he wasn’t a Beltway insider.” Drescher is running at the top of the ruling celebration’s Unite for Strength slate, and Modine is working as the pinnacle of the opposition celebration’s MembershipFirst slate. Election ballots might be mailed to members August 3 and counted September 2.
In a Q&A with Deadline, Modine, who was defeated by Gabrielle Carteris two years in the past, additionally accused the union’s present management of getting waged a “misleading propaganda campaign” to get SAG-AFTRA’s last film and TV contract ratified and promised to carry extra transparency to the union’s operations. He mentioned that, if elected, the cornerstones of his administration can be “safer conditions in all of our working environments, aggressively enforcing our contracts, rehabilitating our health and pension plans, protecting our residuals, and a more vigorous pursuit of fair, living wages.” Providing well being protection to extra of the union’s members is a significant aim, he mentioned.
Only Fran Drescher & Matthew Modine Qualify For SAG-AFTRA Presidential Race; Half Of 26 Local President Races Go Uncontested
He additionally mentioned he’d create a committee “to look closely” on the Writers Guild of America’s recent victory in eliminating packaging fees “to make sure agents aren’t operating with a conflict of interest when they represent us.” SAG-AFTRA and the previous Screen Actors Guild haven’t had a franchise settlement with the Association of Talent Agents since 2002.
Deadline submitted 10 inquiries to him on July 19. He responded on Thursday after coming back from Germany, the place he was on location filming Retribution with Liam Neeson.
DEADLINE: Why did you resolve to run once more after shedding two years in the past?
MATTHEW MODINE: “Losing” is an attention-grabbing flip of phrase. Suppose I used to be the good LeBron James, and your query was: “Why are you competing again after not winning last year’s playoffs.” (We may ask SAG-AFTRA member Mr. James his ideas). What do you contemplate “losing”? I’ll inform you this, my not being elected was an unpleasant, painful, monetary loss for tens 1000’s of my fellow members. Ask the virtually 12,000 members who misplaced their well being plan how they really feel in regards to the departing management that gained two years in the past. Do these members really feel like they gained? Ask the members in the event that they’re happy with their diminishing residuals. Ask background performers in the event that they’re proud of the “historic gains” extolled by the “winning leadership” of their Vote YES! postcards, which had been paid for on the backs of our members’ dues and initiation charges. I’d say each member of our union misplaced deal within the final election. I’m working as a result of our union can not survive two extra years of those sorts of sacrifices.
DEADLINE: What makes you the most effective candidate?
MODINE: I used to be requested to serve on each the L.A. Local and the National Boards a number of years in the past due to my outspoken enthusiasm to maintain our union sturdy. Throughout this time, I’ve discovered an ideal deal in regards to the inside workings of SAG-AFTRA, and most significantly, the wants of our members.
Once once more, fellow members from all events have urged me to tackle this management place which I’ll method by urging better unity, goal, and recent concepts. I’m thrilled that this encouragement contains recommendation and knowledge from former SAG-AFTRA presidential candidate, Jane Austin. Ms. Austin has enthusiastically given her assist to me, Joely Fisher, and our whole MembershipFirst slate. I’m wanting to make use of the perception and prudence I’ve gained by my boardroom expertise and the trade data acquired over my forty-year profession.
I’ll use my expertise as a founder and supporter of quite a few well being and welfare foundations, environmental organizations, veteran assist teams, scientific and academic applications, to information me in reinvigorating and restoring our union.
I started as a background performer. I’ve labored in commercials, finished voice work, been a day-player, a supporting actor, and had leads in over 100 movie, tv, and theatrical productions. I’ve traveled and labored in over twenty nations. Traveling and dealing abroad opens your thoughts and coronary heart. It expands your viewpoint about life and the range of individuals we share the world with. I imagine all these experiences have nice worth for the members of my union – as a result of they arrive from everywhere in the world. Members ought to know that I’m right here to offer the protections and safety that legacy union leaders offered me after I started my very own journey on this trade.
DEADLINE: What is your imaginative and prescient for the way forward for SAG-AFTRA?
MODINE: First, we should restore the foundational pillars. These embrace safer situations in all of our working environments, aggressively imposing our contracts, rehabilitating our well being and pension plans, defending our residuals, and naturally, a extra vigorous pursuit of honest, residing wages. These are the necessities. Expanding on these pillars, now we have our very important committee work and the vital membership discussions regarding wages and dealing situations. This is the place we hear from members, first hand, how the trade is evolving and we put together pointers for future negotiations. Our members are inventive, out of the field thinkers. By offering our members with better alternatives to share their concepts, we are going to create a a lot stronger, unified union. This is how a sensible chief with grit and expertise can put the membership first and unite the union.
DEADLINE: How has the union impacted your life and profession?
MODINE: The union has offered me with security and monetary protections making a legacy of safeguards which I by no means take without any consideration. Residuals, pension, well being care, and protected working situations; these are all exhausting fought for – and gained – accomplishments, achieved by robust union negotiators. I’m the beneficiary of their spirited legacy management.
DEADLINE: SAG-AFTRA is a deeply divided union. If elected, what’s going to you do to unify the factions?
MODINE: Our union was based by dissidents and I bless them for fervently and efficiently grappling, like Jedi, in opposition to the mighty movement image Empire. I additionally imagine that dissenting opinions ought to by no means be silenced – a harmful follow that has turn out to be all too commonplace in our union and in our boardrooms. Our union should all the time be a fervent advocate of the First Amendment.
Legacy SAG and SAG-AFTRA has an extended historical past of division. It’s wholesome when it’s a division of beliefs – wrestling over how we’d greatest remedy an issue. When it turns into a recognition contest amongst a clique of likeminded individuals, nothing will get finished and all ahead progress stagnates. Our members merely wish to work and be rewarded for his or her participation within the creation of their work. In order to enhance monetary risk, working situations, and alternatives, requires better unity, shared dedication and collective objectives. It might be an ideal pleasure for me to bridge this divide.
I’ve discovered, each in my life and profession, that one is all the time extra profitable once they provide an open hand slightly than a clinched fist to those that don’t see eye-to-eye with you. Achieving our collective objectives is rather more simply completed when there may be shared resolve and customary goal.
Harmony will make us stronger in all of our contract negotiations. It’s silly to battle with one another once we are attempting to perform what is correct and greatest for all of us.
When our Local and National Board Members keep in mind that they’re there to place the members first, and never a celebration or faction, SAG-AFTRA will unite.
Looking ahead, my imaginative and prescient is a united group of SAG-AFTRA members who know their price and gained’t again down when outdoors forces search to devalue their labor. This goes past standing agency with our employers for honest compensation and security assurances.
I’d like SAG-AFTRA to ensure brokers aren’t working with a battle of curiosity once they characterize us. I’d create a committee to look carefully on the Writers Guild of America’s success in eliminating inside packaging.
Understanding the worldwide market worth of the leisure trade and our important function inside it, is to realize a sobering perception into the ability our union is able to commanding. Operating and negotiating from this understanding have to be carried into each collective bargaining session.
Producers and casting administrators have to be chargeable for bills related to online submission providers and self-taping.
We should set up extra alternatives for background work outdoors the presently lined zones. All of this implies better affiliation and partnership with every of our locals throughout the nation.
Our union have to be the clarion voice all through our trade, assuring that our members work free from discrimination and/or harassment.
DEADLINE: If elected, what benefit is there to having served on the nationwide and L.A. Local boards?
MODINE: Knowledge and expertise. Full cease.
To vote for a president who has but to take a seat on any SAG-AFTRA committee, or served on our Local or National Board, is to vote for a U.S. President who mentioned he’d be nice as a result of he wasn’t a ‘Beltway insider’. I promise, you don’t need a president who’s studying on the job.
Joely Fisher and our MembershipFirst group have years of compassionate expertise, combating for and on behalf of all of our SAG-AFTRA members.
My rivals have highlighted their work outdoors of the union. I commend them. I, too, have additionally labored for, and served on, dozens of boards outdoors of my union service; Gods Love We Deliver, Lustgarten Pancreatic Cancer Foundation, Wounded Warrior Project, Plastic Oceans, Weizmann Institute, to call just some. Each holds profound and enduring which means to me.
In the mid-90s, I satisfied the William Morris Talent Agency to evolve from single-page script printing to double-sided printing, successfully reducing paper consumption in half. I shared the concept of paper discount with different actors and businesses and double-sided scripts turned the trade normal, saving thousands and thousands of sheets of paper over time. It is common sense options like these that might mild SAG-AFTRA’s manner.
While engaged on a movie in Ouarzazate, Morocco, I helped institute a plastic bottle deposit and recycling program. That effort not solely cleared the desert of discarded bottles, it continues to offer the younger children who gather the bottles with pocket cash to this present day (because it did for me after I was a boy).
Bicycling has been my major type of transportation since transferring to Manhattan in 1980. I based Bicycle for a Day (BFAD) to encourage bicycling as a manner towards higher well being and environmental sustainability. Our first BFAD occasion attracted some 14,000 members. Mayor Michael Bloomberg acknowledged BFAD as a significant program that helped to usher within the metropolis’s bike share program, opened lots of of miles of bicycle lanes, and established protected routes to and from NYC faculties.
The many years that I’ve spent working in these areas actually ready me for my management place at SAG-AFTRA. Serving on union committees and being a Local and National Board Member is important groundwork for a place as vital because the National President of SAG-AFTRA.
Being president of SAG-AFTRA just isn’t a task one performs. It is a duty. To the uninitiated, it may appear as simple as enjoying a personality on a TV present. SAG-AFTRA just isn’t, by any means, a TV present. Any chief of our union should respect the fiduciary duty that comes with defending the monetary livelihood and safety of its members. Nothing humorous or glamorous about that.
DEADLINE: Can you share any of the recommendation you obtained earlier than making your choice to run once more?
MODINE: The members who requested me to run, and have endorsed my candidacy, are most of the kindest, most egalitarian individuals I’ve ever met. Rather than members providing me recommendation, it’s actually extra that they’re making requests of me. Members wish to be advised the trustworthy reality in regards to the choices being made by their union. Our conversations middle across the request for better transparency and downside fixing. We should not curious about finger pointing. We merely need our union to work for us.
DEADLINE: What have been the best successes and failures of the union’s present management?
MODINE: The greatest failure has clearly been the collapse of our as soon as wonderful Health Plan. The vital factor in your readers to know is how this got here to be. The Union’s Board of Trustees knew – for two years – that our Health Plan was in monetary bother. Some of these Trustees had been additionally members of our contract negotiating committees. The Trustees by no means advised our negotiating committees that our Plan was failing and wanted very important monetary assist.
In truth, the present management really publicized the inadequate funding as “gains.” Our personal Union was implying, and making very loud proclamations to all our members, that the Health Plan was secure.
It was simply three weeks, after the present management had despatched 4 separate postcards, costing over $150,000, which merely instructed members to Vote YES on the final TV/Theatrical Contract. The results of this deceptive propaganda marketing campaign was a vicious slap to our membership.
As a results of their so referred to as management and their deceptive advertising marketing campaign, 12,000 SAG-AFTRA Health Plan Participants – 1/3 of the entire variety of members – would now lose their well being care. If the Trustees had been clear, trustworthy, and informative with our negotiation group, we may have mitigated this Health Plan collapse in our TV/Theatrical contract negotiations.
To add insult to damage, the present management used union sources to create a advertising marketing campaign making an attempt to gaslight our members – that seniors had been by no means promised the well being care that they had labored a lifetime to obtain.
The coup de grâce for these over 65 – who’ve taken their pensions – is that they’ll now not have their residuals rely as earnings in the direction of qualifying for SAG-AFTRA well being care. That’s like paying tax on the fuel pump however not being allowed to drive on the highway.
I additionally need our members to know, they shouldn’t be fooled by those that say the union and the well being plan are separate. They are inextricably linked by the truth that:
1. The Union seats the Trustees of the Health Plan and;
2. The cash that funds the Health Plan comes immediately from the contracts negotiated by the Union.
DEADLINE: MembershipFirst has made negotiating higher contracts a chief aim. What would you do to barter higher contracts?
MODINE: Greater transparency all through the whole course of. Beyond that, I’ll reserve my proper to not share exactly how I’ll function; no sensible coach leaks her or his playbook to the opposing group. Suffice it to say, I’m in it to win it for all our members.
DEADLINE: SAG-AFTRA has a brand new nationwide government director – Duncan Crabtree-Ireland. Did you vote for or in opposition to him getting the job, and would you search to switch him if MembershipFirst wins a majority of the seats on the nationwide board?
MODINE: My colleague, Secretary-Treasurer candidate Joely Fisher and I referred to as Mr. Ireland to congratulate him when he changed the prematurely departing – in the midst of a worldwide pandemic – NED David White. It was a productive dialog. Mr. Ireland was grateful for the decision and warranted us that he would work with us. Joely and I are wanting to take up our management positions and uncover these people from inside our union employees who share our pleasure and ambitions and who’re able to roll up their sleeves and do the work to obligatory to satisfy them.