TV writer-producer Michael Winship has been tapped as president of the Writers Guild of America East for a two-year term.
In results announced Friday, Winship easily defeated newswriter Tom Phillips, 422-188. He succeeds Chris Albers, who decided against seeking re-election as head of the Gotham-based 4,000-member WGA East.
As WGA East prexy, Winship becomes part of the WGA’s negotiating team in bargaining with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers. Those talks — which have been marked by acrimony — recessed Thursday and are expected to resume in early October in Los Angeles; contract expiration is Oct. 31.
Winship, a WGA East council member, noted in his campaign that he had worked with Albers in settling years of bitter disagreement with the WGA West and pledged to work “hand-in-hand” with colleagues at the WGA contract negotiations. He also said that the strike option needed to be kept on the table, as part of a strategy of “hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.”
Phillips had been critical in his campaign over the union’s handling of the newswriter contracts for ABC and CBS — both of which expired in 2005 and cover more than 700 members. He noted that no substantive talks have taken place since last year on either pact; Winship said blame should be aimed at the nets and that WGA leaders were not at fault.
“I am deeply honored — and humbled — to receive the votes of the many members who supported my candidacy,” Winship said in a statement Friday. “I’m taking office at a critical time in the guild’s history and will work on behalf of all of our members. Together, we will fight to get the too-long-denied respectful, fair and decent contracts for our members at ABC News and CBS News, and work diligently and closely with our esteemed colleagues at the Writers Guild of America West as we continue our MBA contract negotiations.”
Bob Schneider, a writer for TV and film, ran unopposed for WGA East VP and succeeds Tom Fontana. Gail Lee, a writer-producer at CBS News, was re-elected to her sixth term as secretary-treasurer.
Susan Kim led the voting among 11 candidates for six seats as freelance members of the council, followed by Melissa Salmons, Pippin Parker, Tim Carvell, Adam Brooks and Courtney Simon. Kim and Brooks are incumbents.
Phil Pilato led the voting among six candidates for three seats as staff members of the council, followed by Sue Brown and incumbent Duane Tollison.