Guild holds first election since writers' strike

In their first election following the writers’ strike, WGA East members have opted mostly for incumbents, electing 10 members to two-year terms to the ruling WGA East Council.

Gina Gionfriddo, Walter Bernstein, John Auerbach, David Steven Cohen, Jerome Coopersmith and Jeremy Pikser topped a field of 13 candidates for the six open freelance seats, the Gotham-based guild announced Friday. Coppersmith is the only newcomer.

Cath Twohill, Marianne Pryor, Elizabeth Turrell and Art Daley led a dozen candidates for the four staff seats. Pryor is an incumbent.

The WGA East has about 4,000 members. A total of 444 ballots were cast, in line with typical turnout for WGA voting with participation levels usually under 20%.

In campaign statements, candidates expressed enthusiasm about their strike experience and the need to stay militant. The current WGA contract won’t expire until May 2011, but many candidates stressed the need to prep members for that battle.

“The struggle to preserve and extend our very hard-earned benefits is harder than ever,” Bernstein said in his statement. “But winning that battle is not impossible; our successful strike showed what can be accomplished by solidarity and a smart militancy.”

All eight candidates who were part of the WGAEmpowered slate took seats as Auerbach, Bernstein, Daley, Gionfriddo, Pikser, Pryor, Turrell and Twohill won.

The WGA West, which reps about 8,000 writers, will hold a membership meeting todayand announce its election results the next day for eight slots on its board of directors. Most of the 19 candidates for the WGA West have strongly endorsed the 100-day strike and promised in their official statements that they’ll maintain the same assertive posture if elected.

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