EXCLUSIVE: It was a SAG-AFTRA coalition that ultimately wasn’t. Roberta Reardon‘s plan to run for both NY Local President and National Executive Vice President came only after coalition talks collapsed, union sources tell me. NY-based USAN and the current SAG-AFTRA Co-President’s then-unnamed slate were deep in negotiations to form a powerhouse unit for this year’s union national elections. Those talks included current NY Local President Mike Hodge seeking his post again in this summer’s election and Reardon running for the EVP gig when the SAG-AFTRA national convention meets in September. Initially Reardon wanted Hodge to step aside as NY Local President. But all the principals involved in the coalition negotiations thought that was a bad idea and agreed that the current NY Local President should seek re-election. The grand alliance splintered and folded when Reardon was unable to secure endorsements from the USAN slate for the EVP job. (Related: USAN Unveils SAG-AFTRA Election Slate.) “People involved in the talks thought that because this is the merged union’s first national election, people shouldn’t be bound by endorsements and should vote their conscience,” a source says. Meanwhile, Reardon has announced the formation of the unfortunately named NYC4U, a new slate that is expected to announce other candidates next week. Current union EVP Ned Vaughn has said that he is not seeking another term for the office which isn’t voted on by the membership but only by the union’s national convention delegates in September. Reardon’s SAG-AFTRA Co-President partner Ken Howard already has announced that he is running in this summer’s election for the National President’s spot which is now a solo gig. As Howard made clear earlier this week when USAN announced its New York local and national slates, he is not formally linked to USAN but he’s endorsing their slate and is endorsed by them. He is expected to run against Esai Morales, a SAG National Board member and long-time anti-merger activist. But nothing is yet official until the union releases its certified candidates list, expected in the next week or so. The cutoff for voting eligibility was back on June 17. Ballots will be mailed out to members in good standing July 16 with the deadline for all ballots 6:30 AM on August 15.
Jen Yamato contributed to this report.