One month into its bitter standoff with Hollywood’s talent agencies, the WGA West is kicking off its annual election season – one that could test its leadership’s handling of the ongoing battle with agents and set the stage for next year’s negotiations for a new film and TV contract.
This year, the guild’s three officers – president David A. Goodman, vice president Marjorie David and secretary-treasurer Aaron Mendelsohn – will all be up for re-election in September, if they choose to run again. Half of the guild’s 16 board seats also will be up for grabs.
A victory in the guild’s campaign to realign the agency business almost certainly would bolster the re-election campaigns of incumbents, but a long, drawn-out stalemate could fuel an opposition movement. To date, the guild’s membership overwhelmingly supports their leadership’s hardline with the agencies, but that could waiver if the battle is still going on in September.
The election cycle begins every spring, when the board appoints two nominating committees to recruit candidates. One committee recruits candidates for the three officer positions, and the other committee recruits at least 12 candidates for the eight contested board seats.
Members are allowed to suggest the names of prospective candidates, or throw their own hats into the ring, but those seeking the blessing of the guild’s nominating committees must do so by Wednesday, May 15. The nominating committees will announce their candidate lists by June 21.
Current members in good standing also can run by petition. Those petitions must be received by the guild by July 23. Petitions for officer candidates must be signed by 25 or more current members in good standing. Petitions for board candidates must be signed by 15 or more current members in good standing.
The WGA East, meanwhile, has also begun its own annual election process, and will be holding its Council election nominees gathering on June 11.