Howard Rodman Wins Writers Guild of America West Presidency

Howard Rodman has won a two-year term for the presidency of the Writers Guild of America West over Joan Meyerson.

David A. Goodman topped Carl Gottlieb for the VP slot, currently held by Rodman. Aaron Mendelsohn was elected without opposition to the secretary-treasurer post, currently held by Gottlieb.

Incumbents Billy Ray, Carleton Eastlake, Ari B. Rubin and Patric Verrone won board seats along with Meredith Stiehm, Andrea Berloff, Mara Brock Akil, Luvh Rakhe and Zak Penn.

All were elected to two-year terms except for Verrone – who was elected for a one-year term to fill the vacancy created by Mendelsohn’s election to the secretary-treasurer position.

Current WGA West president Chris Keyser is precluded by guild rules from seeking a third consecutive term.

Rodman is in his second term as VP and has been active in guild politics for more than a decade with screen credits on “Joe Gould’s Secret,” “Savage Grace” and “August.” He’s also a professor and former chair of the writing division at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and an artistic director of the Sundance Institute Screenwriting Labs.

Verrone is best known for leading the WGA West as president during the 2007-08 strike. Ray won a WGA award for the  “Captain Phillips” screenplay and co-chaired the guild’s negotiating team last year in bargaining with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

Akil is the creator and executive producer on “The Game” and has producing credits on “Girlfriends,” “Cougar Town” and “The Jamie Foxx Show.” Stiehm is executive producer on “Homeland” and has credits on “The Bridge” and “Cold Case.”

Penn has story credit on “The Avengers” and wrote the script for “X-Men: The Last Stand.” Berloff wrote the screenplay for “Straight Outta Compton.” Rahke is a producer and writer on “New Girl.”

Turnout was typically light at 27% with 2,401 ballots cast from a total of 8,778 eligible voters.

The WGA West jointly negotiates with the WGA East on the guild’s master contract with producers. That deal expires on May 1, 2017 — so the campaigning for this election has focused on the need to prepare for those talks.

Ray began his campaign statement last month with the declaration “Writers matter,” noting that stories do not exist without them.

“And yet, we are under siege,” Ray wrote. “We’re being asked to do more for less. Our middle-class is being squeezed to the point of nonexistence. We’re subjected to things like pre-writes and paper-teaming and late pay. In 2014, weeks before what was supposed to be a non-confrontational negotiation, the AMPTP proposed a deal to us that included $60 million in cuts to our health plan. The subtext of this is always the same — writers don’t actually matter.”

Rodman said in his campaign statement that the 2007-08 strike was crucial.

“In 2007-08, we struck to obtain jurisdiction over the Internet and new media — easily the essential victory of this century,” Rodman said. “If you don’t think so, imagine a world in which ‘Orange Is the New Black’ and everything else in the Netflix/Amazon/Google universe were not covered by the guild.”

 

Vote totals for the winners: Howard A. Rodman (1,557); Vice President: David A. Goodman (1,262); Secretary-Treasurer: Aaron Mendelsohn (2,050). Board of Directors: Billy Ray (1,688), Meredith Stiehm (1,601), Andrea Berloff (1,465), Mara Brock Akil (1,402), Luvh Rakhe (1,317), Zak Penn (1,165), Carleton Eastlake (1,100), Ari B. Rubin (988), Patric M. Verrone (915).

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