At a glance, it’s routine news. A Chicago actor and voice over artist named Norm Woodel has defeated incumbent Jack Shaw for an open seat on the Screen Actors Guild’s (SAG) national board. SAG announced the election of Woodel along with that of Barbara Alexander, Ilyssa Fradin, Richard Henzel, Lisa Lewis and Darren Stephens to the union’s Chicago Branch Council.
Of note is the fact that Woodel was a Chicago-based strike force co-chair during SAG’s recent commercial strike. The fact that he defeated a long term incumbent, Jack Shaw, indicates that the strike against commercial advertisers is already having some affect on the union and may have an important political impact on the union in the coming weeks. There are several factions vying for political influence at SAG.
In all, the 100,000 member guild has 105 national board seats (and just over 400 employees) with 33 board seats up for grabs in the current election. That number has shrunk by one with Woodel’s election in Chicago, but another 32 seats are expected to be filled today as mail in ballots are tallied by Sequoia-Pacific, a firm hired by SAG.
A SAG statement indicated that those elected have a mandate to “renew efforts to increase the amount of union work in this market.” The same statement indicated that Jack Shaw will “continue to serve as second vice president of the Chicago AFTRA Local.”
-- By Murdoch McBride