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SAG-AFTRA’s Lead Negotiator David White Won’t Be Leaving Before Talks

White had been a finalist to become executive director of NBA players union, but the group has decided to restart the hiring process

It looks far more likely that SAG-AFTRA will have its lead negotiator in place when it starts bargaining with Hollywood’s TV and movie producers in the near future.

Concerns that the actors union’s National Executive Director David White would bolt for a similar post with the National Basketball Players Association have eased, with Monday’s announcement that former NBA player and current Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson would head a retooled search to fill the position.

That basically re-starts the hiring process — White and corporate attorney Michele Roberts were identified as finalists in February — and the target date to complete the process is now the start of the 2014-15 NBA season in the fall.¬†Neither White, SAG-AFTRA officials, nor the players association were commenting Tuesday, but the new timetable means White should be available as the union’s point man in the negotiations.

Also read: Writers Guild Sends Proposed Contract to Members for Ratification

There’s no date set for the actors union to begin talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

But with the Writers Guild having recently reached a tentative agreement with the AMPTP, and the Directors Guild having signed off on a new deal earlier this year, SAG-AFTRA is expected to begin bargaining in the next few weeks. The current 3-year deal expires on June 30.

White joined SAG in 2009 and was key to implementation of the 2012 merger with AFTRA.

When he was identified as a top candidate for the NBA post last month, some of the union’s Membership First faction blasted White’s candidacy, saying that his “consideration of another job, specifically at this crucial time, only illustrates his ego-driven disregard for the union and its members.”

Also read:¬†Why Hollywood Actors’ Contract Talks Could Get Rocky

Were White unavailable, the most likely candidates to lead the union’s negotiating team — along with president Ken Howard — are Associate National Executive Director Mathis Dunn, Senior Adviser John McGuire, Chief Contracts Officer Ray Rodriguez or General Counsel Duncan Crabtree-Ireland.