"Beverly Hills, 90210" actress Gabrielle Carteris has been elected as executive vice president of SAG-AFTRA, the largest entertainment union in the industry.
Delegates attending the union's first national convention selected Carteris, former co-president of the L.A. Local, over New York Local President Mike Hodge.
The executive vice president position is the second most powerful elected position within SAG-AFTRA, which was formed last year after the Screen Actors Guild merged with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
The election created a rare split among the union's leadership.
Carteris was endorsed by SAG-AFTRA Secretary-Treasurer Amy Aquino and Roberta Reardon, the union's former co-president. Hodge, however, was backed by Ken Howard, the newly elected national president.
More than 350 delegates from across the country are attending the convention, which runs through Saturday.
Delegates also were set to elect seven vice presidents representing various locals and categories within the union representing actors/performers, broadcasters and sound recording artists. The vice presidents serve on the national board of the union, which has more than 165,000 members.
The delegates also will vote on some 35 resolutions, including a controversial proposal aimed at "advancing local autonomy" by giving local union offices control of their budgets and local checking accounts. Another proposal would reopen the Nevada and San Diego offices that were shut down as part of a restructuring after the merger.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka kicked off the opening session on Thursday morning. In a keynote speech, Trumka praised the merger as a model for the American labor movement.
"It's a very historic moment and I'm moved you asked me to be a part of it," he said. "God bless you for what you've done in bringing these unions together. Brothers and sisters, we're stronger when we're together -- it's that simple."
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