SAG-AFTRA has kept former SAG president Alan Rosenberg off their first election ballot due to a mistake in his residency classification.
Rosenberg, who served two terms as SAG president between 2005 and 2009, told Variety that he was not allowed on the ballot as a convention delegate due to his being mistakenly listed as a New York resident. Rosenberg has lived in the Los Angeles area for the past two decades — and SAG required that presidents be members of the Los Angeles division.
Roseberg said that union, which was formed 16 months ago after SAG and AFTRA members approved a merger, appears to have confused the New York address of his business manager with his own longtime residence in the Los Angeles area.
Rosenberg also said that he discussed the situation recently with SAG-AFTRA national exec director David White.”David told it was ‘absurd’ and probably due to a computer error,” he added.
The ruling comes with SAG-AFTRA’s leaders coming mostly from the moderates who opposed Rosenberg during his presidency. The union denied any impropriety in a statement from a spokesperson.
“Mr. Rosenberg has received multiple written communications explaining in detail the Los Angeles Election Committee’s ruling on this matter.”
“The national executive director has no role in deciding appeals presented to the election committee. All eligibility determinations are made solely by the elections committees which are comprised entirely of members. All candidates have been informed of the election rules. There is no special treatment afforded to any candidate regardless of their prior status in the union,” said the spokesperon.
Despite White’s assertion, Rosenberg said the elections committee decided against allowing him to run. Ballots are going out Tuesday and must be returned by Aug. 15.
“I would think that the union would want to make every effort to encourage people who have served in the past to continue serving the union,” he added.
Ray Proscia, chair of the Los Angeles local’s elections committee, said in an email message to Rosenberg that the committee has to adhere to the rules.
“Following a careful review of the situation, the Committee must reaffirm that you are not eligible to stand for election to the position of Convention Delegate this year, that your membership assignment was done in accordance with rules applicable to all members of the union, and that you had been provided notice of your right to change that membership assignment that complied with union rules and was the same notice that was provided to all members,” he said.
“The Election Committee does not have the authority to make exceptions to the rules set forth in the SAG-AFTRA Nominations and Election Policy; it only has the authority to determine whether those obligations have been met,” Proscia said. “Both the SAG-AFTRA election rules and federal labor law simply do not permit the Committee any leeway in this regard.”
For his part, Rosenberg said he was distressed by the panel’s refusal to acknowledge that his membership to New York was incorrect. “It just seems so petty,” he said.
During Rosenberg’s tenure, he led the self-described progressives in the Membership First faction — which gradually lost power as the more moderate Unite For Strength and its allies gained control of the board room with a strategy calling for merger.
Rosenberg said he’s concerned that he’s being excluded from the union due to his past opposition to those policies. He noted that past SAG presidents have not been invited to the most recent SAG Awards in recent years, during Ken Howard’s tenure as the final SAG president, as they were in the past.
“I’m a little paranoid that they stopped inviting the presidents out of concerns that me and other presidents like Ed Asner and Kathleen Nolan might say something against the merger,” he added.
Rosenberg had a role in the HBO series “Luck,” which was cancelled in March, 2012 midway through its second season due to the deaths of several horses at Santa Anita during shooting. “I haven’t had much work since then,” he added.