The two top officers of IATSE Local 44 were re-elected to their posts, according to official results released by the Affiliated Property Craftpersons union at the end of March.
It was the union’s first full election since the turbulent departure 10 months ago of Ronnie Cunningham, Local 44’s longtime business agent. Ed Brown, who replaced him, won over 60 percent of the votes to serve a full three-year term as business agent while three opponents split the remainder.
Meanwhile, Elliot Jennings was re-elected secretary-treasurer in a real squeaker: He received 50.32 percent of votes cast, while opponent Dennis McGeehan, a supporter of Cunningham’s, had 49.68 percent. Only 10 votes separated the two out of a total of 1,548.
The vote for the position of president of Local 44 was also very tight. Erin Hennessey, in somewhat of an upset, won with 50.5 percent of the votes, beating Stacey McIntosh who received 49.5 percent. McIntosh had briefly served as president last year following the departure of Cunningham. Cunningham was impeached 10 months ago on various charges including embezzlement, but a trial by his peers was cancelled because the union’s board said it would cost too much and potentially stretch out over several months. Instead the union reached a $180,000 financial settlement with Cunningham which required him to give up his office but allowed him to remain a member of the union.
Jennings, whose divorce proceedings were dragged into the election by his opponent, attributed his close win to the “nasty campaign waged against me” and the low turnout. Only about 30 percent of the union’s eligible 5,400 eligible members cast ballots. “I believe a lot of members were turned off and didn’t bother to vote,” said Jennings.
While Brown as business agent is nominally the head of the union, he and Jennings in effect function as a team, with Brown handling the union’s legal and organization issues while Jennings takes care of finances.