Writers Strike Takes Center Stage In WGA East’s Officer & Council Election

The ongoing writers strike is taking center stage in the WGA East’s officer and Council elections. In their official candidate statements, released today, they all pledged their support for the strike, vowing to remain on the picket line until a fair contract is achieved. The strike, which began May 2 and is now in its 114th day.

Lisa Takeuchi Cullen, who is running unopposed to be the guild’s next president, said that she will lead the guild “over the finish line in our epic battle for fair pay,” and that “We will not give up. We will not give in.”

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As the current vice president of the guild’s Film, Television and Streaming sector, Cullen wrote that “This strike has meant nonstop, round-the-clock talking with members, meeting with staff, leading committees and coordinating with sister Guilds, politicians and non-members. But I burst with pride at our heroic army of captains and members who stood up at great personal cost to save our beloved industry.”

Christopher Kyle, who’s is running unopposed for reelection as secretary-treasurer, said in his statement that “We need to win the strike. The struggles of 11,500 film and TV writers have resonated across the country this summer. Workers of all kinds are standing up to demand their fair share of the value they create and the tremendous support we have received from other unions, including IATSE, SAG-AFTRA, and the Teamsters, has made our strike more powerful than I could have dreamed on May 1.

“I am writing this on a plane back to Los Angeles for another round of talks with the AMPTP,” he continued, “but I hope by the time you read it we will have secured a new contract with real gains that once again makes writing for film and TV a viable career for our members. If not, we’ll keep fighting. This is an existential struggle for the future of our profession. We cannot and will not surrender on our core issues.”

Like all the other campaign statements, Kyle’s was written before last night’s collapse of negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

Erica Saleh, who’s running unopposed for vice president of the guild’s Film, Television and Streaming sector, wrote that “as my career and Guild involvement have evolved, I’ve watched our industry devolve. That stability that I was so grateful for when I got my first writing gig is no longer the norm for any of us, and definitely not for our newest members. We are fighting hard in this strike to claw that stability back, and WHEN we win, I will work with Council to make sure that our members fully know and take advantage of their contractual rights.”

There are also 12 candidates vying for six Council seats representing the guild’s Film, Television and Streaming sector. They 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.

Four candidates are also running for three Council seats representing the guild’s Online Media. They are Sie Morley, Samantha Smylie, David Lumb and incumbent Caitlin Cruz.

Voting begins September 6 and ends on September 21.

The WGA West is also holding its officer and board elections during the strike. Its voting will end on September 19.

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