By Jack Egan
When International Cine-matographers Guild members voted in last month’s special election for delegates to the next IATSE convention, they chose a narrowly split state. The upshot: both main factions in Local 600 claimed vindication following Gary Dunham’s recent upset win to be the new ICG president. Dunham was the Coalition for a Democratic Union candidate.
Of the 20 spots up, nine were won by candidates running under the CDU banner while 11 were chosen from the Unite600 group that had supported Stephen Lighthill, ASC, who lost to Dunham in the race for ICG president.
“We have a very balanced team of delegates,” said Dunham, commenting on the results. Despite the CDU’s coming up on the short side, he said “our group will still have an overall majority when you include the new ICG officers.” Of the seven national executive officers elected in April, five are CDU backers.
“The results show that Dunham doesn’t have the mandate he has claimed,” said Stephen Poster, ASC, a previous president of the American Society of Cinematographers, who has been a vocal critic of Dunham’s agenda, especially on how to approach the issue of runaway production. He also was elected a delegate.
Of the 115 candidates running, Oscar-winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler, ASC, newly elected as second national VP of Local 600 and thus an automatic delegate to the International Association of Theatrical and Stage Employees convention, also received the largest number of votes for delegate. He was followed closely by longtime ICG executive director Bruce Doering. The large tally was viewed as a vote of confidence for Doering, who had been seen as favoring Lighthill in the election. Also getting strong support was Chaim Kantor, eastern region director of the ICG, who had backed the Unite600 candidate.
For his part, Lighthill, who was also elected to be a convention delegate, lamented the low turnout of only 1,454 ICG members, only a quarter of the 5,700 eligible to vote. That was even lower than the one-third turnout in April that voted in Dunham in his close 52.1%–47.8% victory over Lighthill.
Others elected IA convention delegates: On the Unite600 slate were Bob Primes, ASC, Baird Steptoe, Michael St. Hilaire, Kim Gottlieb-Walker, Susan Starr, Peter Kuttner and Tom Houghton. Winning candidates from the CDU slate were Kristin Glover, Ron Vargas, John Lindley, James Glennon, Eddie Avila, Guy Olds, Michael Frediani, George Kohut and Lee Kazista.
The separate second-round vote by ICG members for convention delegates was called after Local 600’s election committee canceled the first tally because of possibly confusing voting instructions. The vote for delegates was supposed to take place simultaneously with the April vote for ICG officers, which resulted in Dunham’s surprise win for president. Coming a month later it allowed voters in the poll for convention delegates to react to the CDU’s near sweep of the officer ranks.
The next IA convention that delegates will attend will be in Honolulu in July 2005. Delegates to the quadrennial gathering approve the agenda and future negotiating goals for the powerful umbrella union. The IA is parent to most of Hollywood’s below-the-line guilds, with the ICG being one of the largest and most prominent.
By Jack Egan