Meredith Stiehm has been re-elected as the president of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) West, defeating her opponent, Rich Talarico, by a large margin. The election saw a total of 3,783 valid ballots cast, with Stiehm receiving 3,354 votes compared to Talarico’s 300.
Not only was Stiehm re-elected, but her running mates also won big in the election. Michele Mulroney, a member of the guild’s negotiating committee, was re-elected as vice president, and Betsy Thomas was re-elected as secretary-treasurer. Mulroney defeated Isaac Gómez, who is currently serving as a strike captain, by a vote of 3,235 to 411. Thomas beat Jeffrey Thompson 3,182 to 421.
This re-election is significant as it comes at a time when the WGA is currently on strike, now in its 141st day. Stiehm’s victory, in a way, is like a vote of confidence for the ongoing strike. It serves as a referendum on the guild’s efforts to negotiate a fair deal for its members.
If a deal isn’t reached in eight days, the strike will become the second-longest in the guild’s history, and in two weeks, the longest. The WGA strike of 1960 lasted 148 days, and the strike of 1988 lasted 154 days. The ongoing strike has already surpassed the duration of the guild’s last strike in 2007-08, which lasted 100 days.
Stiehm’s re-election, along with the upcoming election of Lisa Takeuchi Cullen as the WGA East’s next president, will mark a historic moment where the presidents of the WGA West, WGA East, Directors Guild, and SAG-AFTRA will all be women. However, it is worth noting that the chief executive officers of each guild have always been men.
In her official candidate’s statement, Stiehm expressed her commitment to the ongoing strike and highlighted the reasons why the WGA is succeeding in its efforts. She recognized the dedication of writers on the picket lines and the support of other Hollywood unions in their struggle. Stiehm also emphasized the importance of fair compensation for writers and actors, aiming to share the wealth created by their work.
Rich Talarico, her opponent, focused on the issue of promotional clips and their effect on writers’ compensation. He argued that the misuse of these clips significantly harms writers’ potential earnings. Talarico called for a change in contract language to address this issue and ensure fair compensation for writers.
Overall, these election results signal a continued dedication to the ongoing strike and a push for fair treatment and compensation for writers in the entertainment industry. With the support of its members and alliances with other unions, the WGA is determined to fight for its cause until a just resolution is reached.