The ongoing writers strike has become the central issue in the WGA East’s officer and Council elections. The candidates, in their official statements, have all expressed their unwavering support for the strike, promising to stand on the picket line until a fair contract is secured. Currently in its 114th day, the strike shows no signs of ending soon.
Lisa Takeuchi Cullen, the uncontested candidate for the guild’s next president, declares her determination to lead the guild to victory in the battle for fair pay. She asserts, “We will not give up. We will not give in.” As the current vice president of the guild’s Film, Television, and Streaming sector, Cullen emphasizes the significant efforts made during the strike, such as constant communication with members, meetings with staff, leading committees, and collaboration with sister Guilds, politicians, and non-members. She expresses immense pride in the guild’s members who have bravely stood up at personal costs to save the entertainment industry.
Christopher Kyle, running unopposed for re-election as secretary-treasurer, recognizes the importance of winning the strike. He acknowledges that the struggles of the 11,500 film and TV writers have resonated nationwide during the summer. Kyle highlights the widespread support received from other unions, including IATSE, SAG-AFTRA, and the Teamsters, which has greatly amplified the power of their strike. Despite writing his statement while on a plane to Los Angeles for further negotiations with the AMPTP, he conveys optimism that a new contract with substantial gains will be secured. However, he emphasizes their unwavering commitment to this existential struggle for the future of their profession, stating, “We cannot and will not surrender on our core issues.”
Erica Saleh, running unopposed for vice president of the guild’s Film, Television, and Streaming sector, reflects on the evolution of her career and Guild involvement in an industry that is continuously devolving. She laments the loss of stability that was once cherished in the early days of her writing career, acknowledging that even newer members face uncertainty in their professional lives. The strike aims to regain that stability, and Saleh vows to work diligently with the Council to ensure that all members are well-informed and able to take advantage of their contractual rights once victory is achieved.
In addition to the officer positions, there are twelve candidates contending for six Council seats representing the guild’s Film, Television, and Streaming sector. The candidates are Ian Olympio, Sarah Montana, Sofia Alvarez, Zhubin Parang, Beanie Barnes, Hallie Haglund, Nick Bernardone, and incumbents Sasha Stewart, Liz Hynes, Benjamin Rosenblum, Greg Iwinski, and Josh Gondelman. The guild’s Online Media sector has four candidates vying for three Council seats: Sie Morley, Samantha Smylie, David Lumb, and incumbent Caitlin Cruz.
Voting for the WGA East elections will begin on September 6 and conclude on September 21. This critical period will determine the leadership that will guide the guild through the ongoing strike and shape the future of the profession.
While the WGA East conducts its elections during the strike, the WGA West is also holding its own officer and board elections. The voting for the WGA West will conclude on September 19, just two days before the end of the voting period for the WGA East. These parallel elections underscore the unity and shared goals of writers on both coasts in their quest for fair pay and better working conditions.
In the face of the ongoing writers strike, the WGA East’s officer and Council elections take on even greater significance. The candidates’ steadfast support for the strike and their commitment to fighting for fair pay demonstrate their dedication to the well-being of all members. As the elections approach, the future of the guild hangs in the balance, and every vote becomes an opportunity to shape the outcomes of this critical battle.