Following a routine investigation, the U.S. Department of Labor found no grounds to cancel last year’s election of Fran Drascher as president of SAG-AFTRA. Rejecting the protesters’ claims, the republican election commission of the trade union came to the same conclusion in October.
“Your complaint to the Labor Department in protest of the SAG-AFTRA election of officers on September 2, 2021 has been investigated,” DOL’s identical letters to half a dozen protesters from the union’s dissident faction said. “After reviewing the findings of the investigation of this Office and the Office of the Advocate, the Department of Civil Rights and Labor Management, it was decided that these findings do not provide grounds for action by the Department to cancel the protested election.”
DOL also told each participant that “a statement of the reasons for this decision will be sent to you by mail in the future.”
“I am not surprised by the Labor Department’s decision that Fran Drescher legitimately won the national SAG-AFTRA presidency,” Drascher said in a statement to Deadline. “The majority of deputies voted for me, and I think they made the right decision. I work hard to make them proud and make a difference for all our members, whether they vote for me or not.
“As for those who challenged my election, I ask each of you to get acquainted with me and my position, and not to make party assumptions. Perhaps, if this had been done in the first place, their fears could have been dispelled and the participants ’money would not have been wasted on fruitless pursuits.
“I am a unifier who works for everyone! SAG-AFTRA is the only body that consists of only one opposition – employers. I hope everyone who reads this understands that when we are publicly divided into controversial factions, we are only harming ourselves because we are the only ones standing but divided, we are falling. And I hope that in time some of my skeptics will come and say, “I didn’t vote for her, but heck, I’m glad she won!”
Robert Allen, a lawyer for one of the protesters, said he was waiting for the DOL to “justify the reasons” before deciding whether to appeal.
In a December 17 letter to the DOL office in Los Angeles, Allen said he had “recently discovered irrefutable evidence” that Tom Hanks’ photo, which Drescher held prominently in his company, was “owned by Columbia Pictures” and as such allegedly , was banned by the employer’s in-kind contribution to her company. Allen told Deadline that the alleged evidence was obtained by searching inside studio documents released by WikiLeaks after Sony’s North Korean hacking in 2014.
DOL, however, did not buy it and three weeks later, on January 11, rejected all the protesters’ claims – as in the previous union elections.