David P. White will be stepping down later this spring from his role as national executive director and chief negotiator for the entertainment media industry’s largest union after a 12 year run, SAG-AFTRA announced on Friday.
“David has been an invaluable advocate for our members and deserves immense credit for SAG-AFTRA’s success over the past decade,” SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris said in a statement. “He brought us out of a dark time and into a period of stability and tremendous accomplishment. I know personally that David has been offered numerous opportunities to leave SAG-AFTRA over the years, and I will forever be grateful that he made the decision to stay and see us through the most challenging days of the pandemic. On a personal note, working side-by-side with David has been an inspiration. I have seen his brilliance and dedication up close. I will miss having him as a trusted and true partner.”
“I have loved my time at SAG-AFTRA,” White added. “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the union and its membership and to work alongside such an outstanding executive team and staff. I am grateful for the support of President Carteris, the national officers, the national board of directors, and local leaders across the country. SAG-AFTRA employees are bright, dedicated, and focused every day on delivering extraordinary member service and time-saving innovations that make working with the union more efficient and effective.”
In a special meeting held today, the SAG-AFTRA National Board also authorized Carteris and outside counsel to enter into discussions with longtime SAG-AFTRA chief operating officer and general counsel Duncan Crabtree-Ireland regarding the position. Crabtree-Ireland has served as general counsel of SAG-AFTRA since 2006 and as COO since 2014, and is the union’s lead negotiator with the major record labels and with Telemundo Television Studios. Crabtree-Ireland was instrumental in SAG-AFTRA’s successful COVID safety response and return to work initiatives.
With the unanimous support of the other nine national officers, Cateris presented the below recommendation which was approved by the board of directors: “The National Board authorizes the President and union outside counsel to conduct a due diligence review and discuss a proposed employment agreement for the position of National Executive Director and chief negotiator with Duncan Crabtree-Ireland to be brought back to the National Board for its consideration at its next meeting.”
White’s tenure at SAG-AFTRA is marked by a series of achievements that transformed the union. Principle among them was the successful merger of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) after two unsuccessful efforts and a disruptive period of instability and union infighting. White oversaw the integration of the two legacy unions’ collective bargaining agreements, led the negotiating team for the landmark modernization of the Commercials Contracts and improvements to the Motion Picture, Television, and New Media contracts including significant gains in streaming residuals among other improvements. The union also developed agreements for new media sectors including the Influencers agreement and the Micro-Budget agreement and made substantial progress in covering the professionals who work in these emerging areas.
White, along with Carteris, led the union’s four-year effort to combat sexual harassment in the industry and was a key author of the 2018 Code of Conduct on Sexual Harassment and Guideline Number 1 prohibiting unaccompanied auditions in private hotel rooms and residences. This also included the 2019 release of Standards and Protocols for Intimacy Coordinators, the 2020 updates to the Motion Picture, Television and New Media contract provisions on intimate scenes, the 2021 launch of the SAG-AFTRA Safe Place sexual harassment reporting app, minimum standards for Intimacy Coordinator certification and training, and an industry-standard intimacy coordinator registry.
White will continue to provide counsel to Carteris and senior executives as a strategic advisor throughout the transition to new leadership in the NED and chief negotiator role.
Prior to rejoining SAG-AFTRA in 2009, White previously served as general counsel from 2002 to 2006.