SAG Elects Ned Vaughn 1st National VP

Election completes moderate, pro-merger sweep.

Solidifying moderate control of SAG, the union's Hollywood board on Monday night elected Unite for Strength leader Ned Vaughn as national 1st Vice President.

In a statement following the vote, Vaughn said he was honored to serve, and added, "Our  recent board election made it clear: Hollywood members overwhelmingly want performers in one union, not divided in two."

UFS was founded in 2008 on a platform emphasizing a merger between SAG and AFTRA.

Vaughn joins SAG Secretary/Treasurer Amy Aquino and President Ken Howard. The latter two have served since fall 2009. Aquino and Vaughn have co-led UFS since its founding.

Although Vaughn was the only candidate, his candidacy was not without opposition. A proposal that he be elected by acclamation was not sustained, and it's understood that an independent and members of guild's MembershipFirst faction voted against him.

Vaughn replaces Anne-Marie Johnson, who did not run for reelection in the face of certain defeat. She was the sole remaining officer from MembershipFirst, which had been led by Johnson, President Alan Rosenberg and National Executive Director Doug Allen.

Their tenure had been marked by stalemated negotiations with the AMPTP and vituperative relations with AFTRA.

Over the last two years (three election cycles), MF lost control of the national board, the executive directorship, the presidency, and, in last month's election, the Hollywood board. The latter election was a rout for UFS, with the margin of victory surprising many observers, and led the way for Monday's election of Vaughn.

Also on Monday, the guild's New York board elected Mike Hodge as 2nd vice president. The regional branch division, covering the rest of the country, will elect the 3rd vice president on October 22.

Meanwhile, negotiations continue between SAG/AFTRA and the AMPTP. Vaughn is a member of the negotiating committee. Although there were no talks Monday, talks are expected to continue through mid-November.

The existing contracts expire June 30, and there has been no apparent progress in the negotiations as yet.