David White Stepping Down As SAG-AFTRA’s National Executive Director; Duncan Crabtree-Ireland In Line To Succeed Him – Deadline

David White is stepping down as SAG-AFTRA’s nationwide govt director and chief contract negotiator. He’ll be staying on on the union till later this spring. In a particular assembly held at the moment, the SAG-AFTRA Nationwide Board approved President Gabrielle Carteris and outdoors counsel to enter into discussions with Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the union’s longtime normal counsel and chief working officer, to succeed White. Crabtree-Eire has served as normal counsel of SAG-AFTRA since 2006 and as COO since 2014, and is the union’s lead negotiator with the key report labels and with Telemundo Tv Studios. Crabtree-Eire was instrumental in SAG-AFTRA’s Covid security response and return to work initiatives.

Carteris, with the unanimous assist of the union’s different 9 nationwide officers, offered a suggestion that was accredited by the board authorizing her and outdoors counsel “to conduct a due diligence overview and focus on a proposed employment settlement for the place of Nationwide Govt Director and chief negotiator with Duncan Crabtree-Eire to be introduced again to the Nationwide Board for its consideration at its subsequent assembly.”

White advised Deadline that deciding to go away after 12 years on the job “was exhausting, however this can be a pure inflection level. I needed to verify we obtained by way of the darkest interval of the pandemic. As soon as previous that, I knew that it was time.”

White served as normal counsel to the Display screen Actors Guild from 2002-06, rejoining the guild as its nationwide govt director in 2009 and guiding it to its merger with AFTRA in 2012 after two unsuccessful merger efforts and years of instability and union infighting. For the previous 9 years, he was SAG-AFTRA’s first and solely nationwide govt director.

Over the previous 12 months, throughout essentially the most attempting time in Hollywood’s historical past, he labored intently with leaders of the {industry}’s different unions and guilds to succeed in agreements with the studios to soundly restart movie and tv manufacturing shuttered by the Covid-19 pandemic.


“I’ve cherished my time at SAG-AFTRA,” he mentioned in a press release. “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the union and its membership and to work alongside such an excellent govt staff and employees. I’m grateful for the assist of President [Gabrielle] Carteris, the nationwide officers, the nationwide board of administrators, and native leaders throughout the nation. SAG-AFTRA staff are vivid, devoted, and centered day-after-day on delivering extraordinary member service and time-saving improvements that make working with the union extra environment friendly and efficient.” His resolution to go away was introduced Friday at a digital assembly of the SAG-AFTRA nationwide board of administrators.

“David has been on the heart of SAG-AFTRA’s success over the previous decade,” Carteris mentioned. “His tenure has been marked by stability and large accomplishment. He has been a useful advocate for our membership and deserves immense credit score for all that he, and we, have achieved throughout his time with us. I do know that David had alternatives to go away SAG-AFTRA over this previous 12 months, and the union and I are eternally grateful that he made the choice to remain and see us by way of essentially the most difficult days of the pandemic. On a private word, I’ve labored intently with David and have seen his brilliance and dedication up shut. I’ll miss having him as a trusted associate.”

Amongst his many achievements, White oversaw the mixing of the SAG and AFTRA collective bargaining agreements, led the negotiating staff for the modernization of the Commercials Contracts, and enhancements to the Movement Image, Tv, and New Media contracts together with vital good points in streaming residuals. The union additionally developed agreements for brand new media sectors together with the Influencers settlement and the Micro-Finances settlement, and made substantial progress in masking the professionals who work in these rising areas.

White additionally restructured the union’s operations and launched plenty of improvements to its know-how capabilities, together with the institution of direct deposit for members’ residuals funds; the event of expanded digital communications together with a member cellular app, sexual harassment reporting app, on-line becoming a member of perform, and on-line claims monitoring; the event and adoption of a customer support name heart; and the design and improvement of an internet portal for unbiased producers that can launch later this 12 months to streamline the signatory course of and get initiatives signed quicker and extra effectively.

In a press release, the union mentioned that his “fiscally conservative working philosophy resulted in tight price controls and debt administration, rising revenues, and secure operations. Underneath his stewardship, the union considerably constructed its essential normal fund which had been practically depleted earlier than his assuming operational management at Display screen Actors Guild after which SAG-AFTRA. The restored normal fund helped the union create a strong money reserve that sustained operations by way of the devastation of the worldwide pandemic and months-long manufacturing shutdown.”

Together with Carteris, he additionally led the union’s four-year effort to fight sexual harassment within the {industry} and was a key creator of the 2018 Code of Conduct on Sexual Harassment and Guideline No 1 that prohibits unaccompanied auditions in personal lodge rooms and residences. This additionally included the 2019 launch of Requirements and Protocols for Intimacy Coordinators; the 2020 updates to the Movement Image, Tv and New Media contract provisions on intimate scenes; the 2021 launch of the SAG-AFTRA Secure Place sexual harassment reporting app; minimal requirements for Intimacy Coordinator certification and coaching; and an industry-standard intimacy coordinator registry.

In a pre-exit interview with Deadline, White mentioned the rewards and challenges of main SAG-AFTRA in the course of the pandemic; the industrywide efforts to get movie and TV manufacturing safely restarted; and on a private word, grieving the loss of life of his spouse, Susan Watanabe, virtually three years in the past.

“The loss of life of my spouse was a darkish interval in my life, and it occurred throughout my time at SAG-AFTRA,” he mentioned. “However I used to be surrounded always by a private neighborhood and an expert household that supplied large assist for each me and my daughter. So whereas that was powerful – some of the troublesome issues that I’ll ever face – it was additionally a time when my neighborhood was at its strongest, and my optimism concerning the future was restored.”

Requested what’s been essentially the most rewarding a part of the job, he mentioned: “The folks – completely. It’s been a tremendous expertise working with inventive professionals who need to attempt day-after-day to make a dwelling on this {industry}. This can be a powerful atmosphere, whether or not you’re speaking about actors, recording artists or broadcast information journalists. To ensure that tales to be advised, songs to be sung, and information to be written forthrightly and with honesty, these professionals want safety and to be supported as a result of they’re employed by a number of the largest corporations within the historical past of humankind. My capacity to assist them and advance the mission of this union has been significant and impactful, and I’ve loved each minute of it.”

Requested what’s been essentially the most difficult facet of the job, he mentioned: “Similar reply: coping with the inventive class! The challenges dealing with every certainly one of our members and people dealing with the guilds and unions on this {industry} in the course of the time of fast transformation have pushed all of us to work on the extremes of our expertise day-after-day to maintain tempo. The wants are actual; the alternatives are huge, and now we have to work collaboratively to assist each other as we make sure that persons are protected and supported.”

Operating a union with an extended historical past of democratic turbulence presents its personal distinctive set of challenges. “Union democracy is a full contact sport,” he mentioned. “You need to have the gene in your system to get pleasure from taking part in that sport. Luckily, I do. It’s an enormous problem, however one which I’ve loved. What most individuals don’t notice is how sprawling the operations are of SAG-AFTRA, which additionally presents a problem for any chief govt. We now have 27 governing boards, 15 workplaces throughout the nation, 160,000 members the world over and tons of of employees supporting them unfold across the nation — all for members who work in 4 industries which can be essential to the broader financial system. It’s an enormous job and a enjoyable problem that has actually saved me on my toes.”

Main the union by way of the pandemic required management, and “management is all about having the ability to take cost throughout exhausting occasions and dealing with others to guard your core features and get to the opposite facet with energy and resilience,” he mentioned. “Nobody goes by way of a interval like this on their very own, and I believe the pandemic showcased the easiest of the {industry}, and notably, the collaboration between the guilds and unions. All of us pulled collectively to guarantee that all of our expertise, and all of our staff, had been protected once they had been on any manufacturing set or working at a broadcast information station.”

Requested about working with Carteris, who has been president of SAG-AFTRA since 2016, he mentioned that “Gabrielle has been, and is, an especially efficient chief of this union. I’ve cherished working together with her and being a associate together with her, and I’ve watched her use each accessible useful resource and take each accessible step to advocate for our members, typically at nice private sacrifice. She’s actually an unimaginable particular person and I’ll at all times be thankful for her partnership and friendship.”

Summing up he mentioned: “We actually completed lots up to now 12 years. I’m very grateful for that and glad to have the ability to go away on my phrases. This transition shall be secure – we’ve obtained a fantastic management staff in place.” The way forward for the union, he mentioned, “is to continue to grow and to strengthen its positions within the industries wherein our members work. It’s a vivid future for this group. We now have presence in every single place: we’re in D.C., in Sacramento and Albany; we’re within the leisure {industry}; the promoting {industry}; broadcast information; the music {industry}. We’re in rising markets. Our monetary scenario is robust; our operational scenario is secure; we’re bringing folks again to work post-Covid. We now have made a number of technological improvements that, over time, will permit the union to be ever extra environment friendly, and simpler for members and producers to work with us. This can be a nice time for the union to construct on what has been completed and to take it to the following stage.”

As for his personal future, he mentioned: “I’ve a few alternatives in entrance of me, however I’m not at liberty to speak about them. I’ll take a while to resolve my subsequent transfer.”

His recommendation to his successor, he mentioned, is to “Be clear in your private values, keep centered on the core features of this union, and have lots of enjoyable. It’s going to be an satisfying experience.”

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