Winship new WGAE chief

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TV writer-producer Michael Winship has been elected president of the WGA East, receiving 67.7% of the votes.

"I'm taking office at a critical time in the guild's history and will work on behalf of all of our members," Winship said Friday. "Together, we will fight to get the too-long-denied respectful, fair and decent contracts for our members at ABC News and CBS News and work diligently and closely with our esteemed colleagues at the WGA West as we continue our (minimum basic agreement) contract negotiations."

Winship replaces Chris Albers, previous head of the 4,000-member guild, who did not seek re-election. Albers is a writer for "Late Night With Conan O'Brien."

The guild also is set for a change in its top staff post. Long-serving executive director Mona Mangan recently announced her intention to leave as soon as a successor can be identified, with a candidate search under way.

Winship's credits include a stint with PBS' "Now With Bill Moyers."

His rival candidate for WGAE president, TV newswriter Tom Phillips, has held positions at CBS News and elsewhere.

Winship and Phillips were members of the WGAE Council.

"I congratulate Michael Winship on his election and on a hard-fought campaign that defined the issues facing the WGAE at this critical point in its history," Phillips said. "At the same time, I would like to thank all those who voted for me, especially the newswriters I campaigned for, and to underscore the message we sent: that we're willing to do what it takes to win fair contracts and restore the respect the industry owes its writers."

The WGAE and WGA West are in contract talks with reps of the studios and networks on a minimum basic agreement for film and TV scribes. The current MBA, covering 12,000 members of the two guilds, expires Oct. 31.

The WGAE also is in negotiations with ABC and CBS on newswriter contracts, both of which expired more than two years ago.

In other WGAE balloting, vp Bob Schneider and secretary-treasurer Gail Lee were re-elected without opposition.

Nine open seats on the WGAE Council also were filled: Susan Kim, Melissa Salmons, Pippin Parker, Tim Carvell, Adam Brooks, Courtney Simon, Phil Pilato, Sue Brown and Duane Tollison.

All terms are for two years, beginning immediately and running through 2009.

Carl DiOrio contributed to this report.
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