Writers Guild West Unveils Board of Directors Election Results

WGA Building Black and White - H - 2019
WGAW

The union reveals its leadership amid a standoff with two agencies, WME and CAA.

Amid a standoff with two major talent agencies, the Writers Guild of America West unveiled the results of its annual election for its leadership on Monday.

Candidates that have been elected to two-year terms to the guild's board of directors include Betsy Thomas, Deric A. Hughes, Ashley Gable, Patti Carr, David Slack, Eric Haywood, Travis Donnelly and Patric M. Verrone. The union disclosed that 2,204 ballots were cast.

“A heartfelt ‘thank you’ to all the candidates that ran this year,” stated WGAW President David A. Goodman. “The work of the Board continues, and we’re fortunate that we have so many members ready to step forward and give their free time to help protect and advance the interests of all our members.”

Last September, when WGAW president Goodman was reelected with 77.4 percent of the vote, 5,809 ballots were cast representing 58 percent of the eligible 9,988 voters.

Board of directors incumbents Gable, Thomas, Verrone and Hughes have also been a part of the guild's negotiating committee that has worked to make deals with agencies to represent writers.

The guild has been locked in litigation with WME and CAA over an impasse on terms of representing writers, with the union holding firm on sunsetting packaging fees (in which agents are paid directly by a studio for attaching actors or a director to a scribe's pitch) and affiliate production (adjacent companies of agencies producing film and TV content).

On Sept. 14, CAA said that it would sign a deal similar to what ICM Partners unveiled with the guild less than a month earlier, when the firm agreed to sunset the longstanding practice of packaging fees in two years. Additionally, CAA said that it would look to comply and reduce its ownership stake in film and production company wiip to 20 percent. At issue appears to be the timeline for compliance on CAA downsizing its stake in wiip. The Writers Guild replied to the agency in a note to members, saying, “CAA has proposed changes to the agreement that the WGA has not — and cannot — agree to.”

Leadership of the WGAW has touted gains made over the past year in signing up individual agencies to new terms. "We have signed over 100 talent agencies to franchise agreements," the guild's negotiating committee noted to members on Sept. 1, adding: "With the signing of UTA and ICM to franchise agreements last month, we now have deals with every significant agency except CAA and WME."