Less than 10% of 4,000 members voted

Six incumbents and four newcomers have won the 10 open two-year seats on the Writers Guild of America East council with less than 10% of the 4,000 members voting.

The WGA East announced the results Friday with 387 votes cast for a total of 29 candidates. The participation was in line with other recent WGA East elections.Freelance winners were Gina Gionfriddo (188), Andrew Bergman (164), Jeremy Pikser (155), John Auerbach (149), Terry George (143) and Walter Bernstein (141). Gionfriddo, Pikser, Auerbach and Bernstein are incumbents.

Staff winners were Cath Twohill (206), Marta Gibbons (182), Art Daley (165) and Ted Schreiber (136). Twohill and Daley are incumbents.

In campaign statements issued last month, several candidates stressed that members need to brace themselves for another tough battle with the congloms. No negotiations have been set for a successor contract to the existing WGA pact, which expires May 1. John Bowman and Billy Ray have been tapped as chairs of the negotiating committee.

“If there’s one lesson I’ve learned in the years I’ve been active at the guild, it’s that none of the benefits we have health, pension, minimums, working conditions have been gotten without a fight,” noted Bernstein. “The conglomerates that own our business are not our friends. They do not respond to making nice.”

Bergman wrote that he had served on the negotiating committee during the strike.

“These are perilous times for writers, as are most times, but this time it’s worse,” he said.

Several candidates had focused on new-media jurisdiction and compensation, the key issue during the 100-day strike of 2007-08.

“No union, no smart union anyway, strikes unless it has to,” said Pikser. “And we had to. If for no other reason (and there were plenty) because they were trying to shut us out of Internet revenues, where everyone knows the lion’s share of future money is.”

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