By Jack Egan
Ronnie Cunningham has regained the top post of business representative for IATSE Local 44, winning the recent runoff election at what is popularly known as the propmakers union.
Cunningham beat Kevin Pike in a surprisingly close vote, receiving 1,317 votes (53 percent) to Pike’s 1,172 (47 percent). In the rescheduled first round vote in June, Cunningham came close to winning the required majority with 49.7 percent, in what was then a three-person race.
Cunningham had been Local 44’s business rep from 1989 to 2001 when he lost a tight election to the late Art Brewer. Brewer left his position after only one year, appointing Stew McGuire as his replacement. McGuire ran for re-election this year but failed to make the finals.
Local 44 has some 6,000 members, making it one of the largest IATSE unions. Cunningham’s run for office exploited member discontent with the master contract negotiated last year by IATSE which called for some selective wage reductions.
Local 44 also represents prop masters, set decorators, construction coordinators and workers dealing with greens and miniatures.
In other results, Jack Thomas beat Erik Nelson for president in a real squeaker. Thomas got 50.3 percent to 49.6 percent for Nelson. For secretary-treasurer, Elliot Jenning, with 52 percent of the votes cast, topped Dennis McGeehan, who got 48 percent. Mary Gullickson, with 62 percent, handily beat Daniel Boone for the job of sergeant at arms.
Michael Clark and Rob Carlyle were elected to the two trustee openings. Erin Hennessey, Gene Owens and Michael Van Dyke will take the three posts on the executive crafts board reserved for propmakers. Craig Raiche won for prop masters delegate to the IATSE convention and Hennessey was chosen as the propmakers delegate.
There are still opportunities for Local 44 members to protest the election results, and final certification is now set for September when swearing in for the new officers is also likely occur.
By Jack Egan