There is a major change in the WGA negotiating team ahead of the March 20 start of talks with studios on a new contract. WGAW Executive Director David Young, who has spearheaded multiple bargaining campaigns on behalf of the writers, is going on a medical leave of absence starting today, the guild’s leadership told members in an email this afternoon.
“WGAW Assistant Executive Director Ellen Stutzman will serve as chief negotiator for the 2023 MBA negotiations,” the letter said. “Ellen has earned the confidence and full support of the WGAW Board, WGAE Council, and the WGA Negotiating Committee. She will lead a staff with decades of experience negotiating and enforcing the MBA, and organizing and mobilizing members to support the Guilds’ contract campaigns.”
No additional information about Young’s condition or expected return day has been revealed but the guild’s officers wished him a full recovery on behalf of the entire membership. It is unclear whether Young would be involved in the negotiations with AMPTP, whose start date remains set for March 20, following his recovery.
“We are sincerely sorry to hear of David Young’s medical issue and wish him a speedy and successful recovery,” an AMPTP spokesman told Deadline.
Known for his bare-knuckle negotiating style, Young has been at WGA for almost two decades; he joined as the head of the guild’s organizing department in 2004 and was promoted to executive director in 2006.
Here is the full letter, which highlight’s Stutzman’s extensive background:
We wanted to let you know that WGAW Executive Director David Young began a medical leave of absence today.
WGAW Assistant Executive Director Ellen Stutzman will therefore serve as chief negotiator for the 2023 MBA negotiations. Ellen has been with the WGAW for 17 years, rising first from researcher to Research & Public Policy Director. She’s been in her current position as Assistant Executive Director since 2018, with oversight over the Agency, Contracts, Legal, and Research & Public Policy departments. As part of the executive staff, Ellen has played a key strategic role in the past three MBA negotiations and the agency franchise agreement negotiations. She is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations and has her MBA from UCLA.
Ellen has earned the confidence and full support of the WGAW Board, WGAE Council, and the WGA Negotiating Committee. She will lead a staff with decades of experience negotiating and enforcing the MBA, and organizing and mobilizing members to support the Guilds’ contract campaigns.
We know we speak for the entire WGAW and WGAE memberships in wishing David a full recovery.
Negotiations with the AMPTP will begin on March 20th. You will be hearing more from us before then.
Meredith Stiehm, Michele Mulroney, and Betsy Thomas, WGAW Officers
Michael Winship, Lisa Takeuchi Cullen, and Christopher Kyle, WGAE Officers
David A. Goodman and Chris Keyser, WGA Negotiating Committee Co-Chairs
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