(DHD has been asked to post this election message from Patrick Verrone, the WGA West president, and John Bowman, chair of the 2007/2008 negotiating committee, disputing WGAw presidential candidate John Wells’ campaign claims and supporting the opposing candidacy of Elias Davis:
To our fellow Guild members:
By now you should have your WGAW ballots. We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to vote in this election and we want to clarify a claim that has been made by some of the candidates.
John Wells has stated that he worked with Writers Guild leadership to achieve our last deal. We can state unequivocally that neither one of us had any idea he was working with the Directors Guild. We would have liked to have known that. Had we known – had John called either one of us and told us he was working with the DGA and did we have any suggestions? – we would have jumped at the opportunity. We would have achieved, we are certain, a better deal than we did, had John chosen to work with us, instead of keeping us in the dark. As it worked out, after John publicly supported the DGA deal, without also publicly stating his own involvement, our hands as negotiators were tied. We’d been on strike for three months and people wanted to go back to work. We understood this. What we did not understand, and still don’t, is why one of our own would negotiate with the DGA without informing his Guild’s president or the chair of its negotiating committee.
This is what you get with John Wells. He does his own thing. He doesn’t depend upon the will of our Guild’s membership, but upon the strength of his relationships with management. He depends upon his own judgment, not upon a collective sense of what is right, and reasonable. We got a better deal than John would have had he negotiated the deal alone, without a strike. We think he would say the same.
Together, we’ve expended an enormous amount of energy to establish our Guild as a force with which to be reckoned. The strength of our Guild is not dependent upon any one individual, but upon our collective will and management’s perception of it. Why would we sacrifice this, and return to a weakened Guild, dependent upon the shifting relationships of an Executive Producer? Do we want a leader who doesn’t have a relationship with our talented Executive Director, when that relationship is key? Management wants this, it’s easier for them. Even if you believe John always has our best interests at heart, what happens after he leaves? What sort of a Guild does he leave behind? We believe Elias Davis, Tom Schulman, and David Weiss have a better sense of how to build an organization. They are serving your best interests. Please join us in our support of them.
Patric M. Verrone, President, WGAW
John Bowman, Chair, 2007-08 Negotiating Committee