Beau Willimon, running unopposed, has been re-elected president of the WGA East. His slate of running mates, all of whom support the guild’s five-month-long battle with the talent agencies, also were elected. They include The Deuce co-creator David Simon, an outspoken critic of the agencies’ business practices, who was re-elected to one of six open freelance seats on the guild’s Council.
The election sweep is further evidence that WGA members remain solidly behind their leaders’ efforts to reshape the agenting business by banning packaging fees and agency affiliations with corporately related production entities. The guild, as is its practice, did not release any vote totals, other than to say that 21.32% of its 5,919 eligible members voted.
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Their victory comes just three days after WGA West president David A. Goodman and his running mates, who also support the agency campaign, swept their election. Goodman called his slate’s lopsided victory “a mandate to continue the strategy we’ve been pursuing.”
Unlike the WGA West, the WGA East did not release any vote totals, other than that votes were cast by 21.32% of the guild’s 5,919 eligible members.
As with the election in the West, the two main issues in the East races were the fight with the agencies and the upcoming negotiations with management’s AMPTP for a new film and TV contract, known as the Minimum Basic Agreement.
Willimon, the House of Cards creator, first was elected president in 2017, when he also ran unopposed. In his official campaign statement, he wrote: “I have worked closely with Council, staff, captains and the leadership of the WGA West to help conduct our current collective action as strongly and smoothly as possible, while also being mindful that we need to address the concerns of those who have felt disruption. I will continue to support our struggle and promote ways for us to help each other. The tools and networks we are creating now will serve us long after this struggle is over.”
Bob Schneider, also running unopposed on Willimon’s slate, was re-elected secretary-treasurer. Schneider has called the guild’s fight with the agencies a “slow-moving freedom train.”
In the only contested officer race, Kathy McGee was elected vice president, defeating Philip Pilato. McGee is a member of Willimon’s Unity Slate, but she and Pilato — who was elected to the guild’s Council — both support the agency campaign.
Besides David Simon, the other Unity Slate candidates elected to freelance seats on the Council were Bonnie Datt, Josh Gondelman, Dru Johnston, Courtney Simon and Amy Sohn.
Their Unity Slate platform stated: “Our Guild’s strength is in its solidarity. We aim to maximize that strength with regard to the agency struggle and the upcoming MBA negotiations. We support a firm stance in systemically addressing conflicts of interest within our industry.”
Incumbents Philip Pilato, Kim Kelly and Hamilton Nolan were the only candidates seeking re-election to the three open Staff seats on the Council. Kelly and Nolan were both endorsed by the Unity Slate.