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Writers Guild West Re-Elects Meredith Stiehm as President

The Writers Guild of America West has re-elected Meredith Stiehm as its president and Michele Mulroney as its vice president in an unusual strike-era officer and board of directors election.

Incumbent Betsy Thomas won the seat for secretary-treasurer, beating out Jeffrey Thompson, in the voting period that ended on Tuesday. Other officer candidates included Rich Talarico, who had been running for president, and Isaac Gómez, who had been running for vice president. Voting took place between August 29 and Sept. 19 amid the ongoing writers’ strike, which began more than four months ago.

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Candidates who won seats on the union’s board of directors included incumbents Adam Conover, Nicole Yorkin, Dailyn Rodriguez, Zoe Marshall and Dante W. Harper, as well as fresh candidates Molly Nussbaum, Scott Alexander and Rob Forman.

Three thousand seven hundred eighty-three valid ballots were cast in the election, which was administered by Votenet Solutions. Around 11,000 WGA West members were eligible to vote, constituting a turnout of about 34 percent.

The election, which served as something of a mid-strike referendum on the current WGA leadership, suggested that voting members are generally in support of the direction the union has taken: All the incumbent leaders who ran for re-election in officer and board of director positions alike were voted in this round.

In their platforms, the non-incumbent candidates suggested that they would work toward developing more mentorship and skills development opportunities, instituting measures to combat toxic workplaces and cultivating community-building within the union. Alexander, a previous member of the board of directors in the ’90s and 2010s, called for making all deals “two-step” pacts (a.k.a. having at least two points of payment in a deal). Forman promised to push for organizing in the video games space and instituting a comprehensive fertility benefit and a family planning fund, while Nussbaum emphasized the need for a “multi-pronged approach to ending free work.”

Several sitting board members who won re-election, meanwhile, emphasized expanding on diversity and inclusion efforts and also curbing work without pay. Rodriguez emphasized the importance of contract enforcement once the WGA’s film and television 2023 pact with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers is ratified, while Yorkin noted that she has been working on building a “Leadership Training Program” to guide writers at the producer level and above on job responsibilities and best practices. Harper called for greater dues parity between film and television writers members of the WGA, and Conover called for more organizing: “From animation, to kids television, to game shows, to documentary and reality TV, every writer in Hollywood deserves to have the protection of a union,” he wrote in his platform.

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