The WGA West has unveiled the slate of candidates for officer posts and board seats in the election that reflects the divisions among members over the guild’s handling of the campaign to reform its rules governing talent agents.
Scribes Phyllis Nagy (“Carol”) and William Schmidt (“Yellowstone”) are set to challenge David Goodman for the president’s post. Nagy and Schmidt have been vocal in her opposition to the guild’s reform campaign that led to more than 7,000 WGA members firing their agents in April.
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The guild has been in a standoff with the largest talent agencies since then, although two boutique operations have signed on to the WGA’s new terms. Goodman, elected in 2017, has been a key face of the agency effort along with WGA West executive director David Young.
The higher volume of candidates for board seats this time around surely is a byproduct of the agency discord. This year, 21 candidates vying against incumbents and newcomers for eight seats up for re-election. Last year there were 13 candidates for eight open seats; in 2017, there were 11 contenders.
This year’s list of candidates, presented in an order determined by lot per WGA West rules, are: Meredith Stiehm (inc.), Ed Herro, Zoe Marshall, Mike Mariano, Liz Alper, Rasheed Newson, Luvh Rakhe (inc.), Nicole Yorkin (inc.), Angelina Burnett (inc.), Nicholas Kazan, Ashley Edward Miller, Sarah Treem, Joshua Hale Fialkov, Ayelet Waldman, Courtney A. Kemp, Jason Fuchs, Robb Chavis, Dante W. Harper, Rob Forman, Chris Roessner, Marc Guggenheim.
Candidates running for vice president against incumbent Marjorie David are Carl Gottlieb and Craig Mazin. Up for Secretary-Treasurer are Nick Jones, Jr., Evette Vargas and Michele Mulroney.
In her candidate’s statement, Nagy identified Mazin and Jones as candidates that share her view that the guild needs to push for a negotiated settlement with the talent agencies in the battle that has erupted into litigation in state and federal court. She identified Guggenheim, Kazan, Kemp, Miller, Newson, Treem and Waldman as like-minded candidates for board seats.
“We won’t reach a resolution with stalemates, entrenched thinking, a reliance on lawsuits that may or may not resolve in our favor after years of litigation, and a refusal to talk to the other side. Of that much, I am convinced,” Nagy said in her candidate’s statement.
The guild will host its traditional Candidates Night forum on Aug. 28. Given the fiery debates that the agency campaign has stirred via social media among writers and other industry insiders, the election forum could produce some fireworks. Voting in the election via online and mail-in ballots will close at noon PT on Sept. 16.