Following a routine investigation, the U.S. Department of Labor has found no basis to overturn last year’s election of Fran Drescher as president of SAG-AFTRA. In rejecting protesters’ claims, the union’s own national election committee came to the same conclusion in October.
“Your complaint to the Department of Labor protesting the September 2, 2021, election of officers in SAG-AFTRA … has been investigated,” the DOL said in identical letters to a half-dozen protesters from the union’s dissident faction. “Following a review of the investigative findings by this Office and the Office of the Solicitor, Division of Civil Rights and Labor-Management, a decision has been made that those findings do not provide a basis for actions by the Department to set aside the protested elections.”
The DOL also told each protester that “a statement of reasons setting forth the basis for this decision will be mailed to you at a future date.”
“I am not surprised by the Department of Labor’s ruling in favor that Fran Drescher won the SAG-AFTRA national presidency legitimately,” Drescher said in a statement to Deadline. “The majority of the members voted for me, and I believe they made the right decision. I am working diligently to do them proud and make a difference for all our members whether they voted for me or not.
“As for those who challenged my election, I implore each of you to get to know me and my positions rather than make partisan assumptions. Perhaps had that been done in the first place their fears might have been allayed and members’ monies not squandered on fruitless pursuits.
“I am a unifier working for everyone! SAG-AFTRA is one body of members with only one opposition, employers. I hope everyone reading this realizes that when we publicly divide into arguing factions, we only hurt ourselves because united we stand but divided, we fall. And in time I hope some of my naysayers will come to proclaim, ‘I didn’t vote for her but by golly I’m glad she won!’”
Robert Allen, an attorney for one of the protesters, said he is awaiting the DOL’s “statement of reasons” before deciding whether to appeal.
In a December 17 letter to the DOL’s office in Los Angeles, Allen said he had “recently discovered unassailable proof” that a photo of Tom Hanks that Drescher featured prominently in her campaign was “the property of Columbia Pictures,” and as such, allegedly, was a prohibited in-kind employer contribution to her campaign. Allen told Deadline that the purported proof was obtained through a search of internal studio documents released by WikiLeaks following North Korea’s 2014 Sony hack.
The DOL, however, wasn’t buying it, and three weeks later, on January 11, it rejected all of the protesters’ claims — as it did in the union’s previous election as well.