David Goodman Re-elected as Writers Guild West President

WGA West President David A. Goodman - Getty - H 2019
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Challenger Phyllis Nagy received about 20 percent of the votes in an election that featured a record-high turnout of 58 percent.

David A. Goodman on Monday was elected to a second two-year term as president of the Writers Guild of America West with 4,395 votes (77.4 percent), capping an election that was widely viewed as a referendum on the WGA’s fight against the major talent agencies over such issues as packaging fees and affiliate production.

In a sign that the membership supports the current approach to a battle that has devolved into federal litigation and has seen over 7,000 writers fire their agents under orders from the guild, challenger Phyllis Nagy, who ran on a platform emphasizing negotiation, received only about 22.6 percent (1,282) of the votes. None of the members of her slate won other open positions, either.

“It absolutely is [a mandate],” Goodman told The Hollywood Reporter. "When you get 75 percent of the vote and have a historic turnout, the membership is telling you to keep going. This is a clear message that if the agencies want their writer clients back, they’ll have to negotiate with us.”

Goodman added that the negotiations would have to be agency by agency, rather than with the agencies’ trade organization, the Association of Talent Agents. “We won’t be negotiating with the ATA,” he said. “That strategy was clearly part of this election.” It is a divide-and-conquer approach that gives the guild additional leverage. The ATA declined to comment and the four largest agencies — WME, CAA, UTA and ICM Partners — did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Re-elected as vp was incumbent Marjorie David, who was running unopposed. Earlier, Craig Mazin, who was running on Nagy’s WGA Forward Together slate, withdrew due to family issues. Carl Gottlieb also withdrew.

Michele Mulroney won the race for secretary-treasurer, defeating Nick Jones, Jr. (on Nagy’s slate) and Evette Vargas. Incumbent Aaron Mendelsohn did not run for re-election.

The winners for eight open seats on the 16-member board of directors include four incumbents (Meredith Stiehm, Luvh Rakhe, Nicole Yorkin and Angelina Burnett), three others who support the guild’s current approach to the agency fight (Liz Alper, Robb Chavis and Zoe Marshall) and Dante Harper, whose campaign statement emphasized other issues. The highest vote getter was Stiehm, who has been outspoken on agency issues, especially packaging.

“We congratulate David Goodman and the elected officers and board members on their victory,” Nagy and her slate said in a statement. ”Elections crucially give voice to opposing points of view, and while our strategies may differ, our goals are the same: to serve the best interests of our fellow members. We remain committed, passionate advocates for our Guild who believe that far more unites us than divides us. We were honored to hear the concerns and perspectives of so many writers, and look forward to participating in the next chapter of the Guild’s proud history.” The statement was signed by Phyllis Nagy, Nick Jones Jr., Jason Fuchs, Marc Guggenheim, Nicholas Kazan, Courtney A. Kemp, Ashley Edward Miller, Rasheed Newson, Sarah Treem and Ayelet Waldman.

“We’re here for all the membership,” said Goodman. “I recognize that many people didn’t vote for us, but the majority did.”

A total of 5,809 valid ballots were cast. Representing 58 percent of eligible voters (9,988), the turnout was said by the guild to be the largest in its history and more than double the previous record turnout of 2,475 in the 2018 Board of Directors election.

Numerical voting results were as follows:

President: David A. Goodman (4,395), Phyllis Nagy (1,282).

Vice President: Marjorie David (4,708).

Secretary-Treasurer: Michele Mulroney (4,164), Nick Jones, Jr. (1,256), Evette Vargas (203).

Board of Directors: Meredith Stiehm (4,115), Luvh Rakhe (4,000), Liz Alper (3,967), Angelina Burnett (3,960), Nicole Yorkin (3,874), Zoe Marshall (3,819), Robb Chavis (3,679), Dante W. Harper (3,628), Marc Guggenheim (1,488), Sarah Treem (1,476), Nicholas Kazan (1,462), Courtney A. Kemp (1,418), Jason Fuchs (1,270), Rasheed Newson (1,255), Ayelet Waldman (1,203), Ashley Edward Miller (1,160), Mike Mariano (715).

Write-in votes are not included in the totals, and not every ballot contained votes for every office.