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Writers Guild Leaders Seek Fewer Elections

Leaders of the Writers Guild of America West are asking the 8,000 members to approve holding elections in two of every three years rather than the current practice of annual elections.

Members are receiving three proposed amendments to the their constitution. Ballots on the proposals, which have been approved by the WGA West board, will be counted on May 3.

The first amendment would change the WGA West’s annual election to a contest held on a cycle of two of every three years starting in 2021; lengthen the current terms for officers and board members to three years from the current two years; allow officers to remain in office for six years, rather than the current four years; and allow board members to remain in office for nine years rather than the current eight years.

The second amendment will reduce the number of board candidates that the WGA West’s nominating committee must nominate each election from the current 16 to as few as 12 for the eight open board seats. The board told members in the notice sent to them that the amendment is designed to deal with the difficulty experienced by recent nominating committees in recruiting enough nominees to run.

The third amendment reduces the number of signatures required to run by petition for an officer position to 25 from the current 50 and to 15 signatures from the current 25 to run for the board.

WGA West President Howard Rodman said in the notice that the changes are aimed at making the election process “more compatible with the actual work of union governance.”

The changes do not impact the WGA East, which has 4,000 members and is based in New York. The WGA West and WGA East jointly negotiate their master contract with producers, a three-year deal which will expire on May 1, 2017.

The two most recent WGA negotiations have been relatively low-key compared with the bitter 2007-08 strike, which lasted 100 days.

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