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Ken Howard is reelected president of Screen Actors Guild

The election result gives momentum toward a merger of SAG with the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists.

September 23, 2011|By Richard Verrier, Los Angeles Times

Screen Actors Guild President Ken Howard was overwhelmingly reelected to a second term as president of the 125,000-member union.

Howard, who did not face serious opposition, won 75% of the votes, defeating three lesser-known candidates in the presidential contest: David Hillberg, Sharon Rubin and Asmar Muhammad.

His victory is likely to add further momentum toward merging SAG with its smaller sister union, the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists. Howard and his supporters have campaigned heavily on combining the unions to give actors more clout in negotiations and end long-standing conflicts between the two groups.

SAG and AFTRA have established committees that are expected to craft a merger plan, including a proposed constitution of the new union, by early next year.

"There's nothing more important than members exercising their right to vote, and I'm very grateful for their continued support," said Howard, a veteran film and TV actor who starred in "The White Shadow" TV series and in 2009 won an Emmy for his best supporting actor role as Phelan Beale in HBO's critically acclaimed TV movie "Grey Gardens."

"With so many pro-merger candidates elected again this year, there's no doubt what members want, and I look forward to presenting a comprehensive plan to the SAG and AFTRA national boards in January," he said.

Howard's running mate, Amy Aquino, whose credits include appearances on "ER" and "Everybody Loves Raymond," also was reelected secretary-treasurer. She ran unopposed.

In all, 11 of 12 national board seats in the Hollywood division that were up for grabs were won by supporters of Howard and his Unite for Strength group, which further solidified its control over the board.

Board members elected include well-known TV actors Tony Shalhoub ("Monk"), Adam Arkin ("Chicago Hope"), Scott Bakula ("Quantum Leap") and Kate Flannery ("The Office").

richard.verrier@latimes.com

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