WGA East Council finalizes proposal to restructure digital media organizing efforts

After several months of meetings, the management of the Eastern American Writers Guild agreed on proposed changes to the constitution that will change how the guild develops its plans to unionize digital media companies.

The guild’s leadership announced on Thursday that it would be launching a campaign called “#NextChapter” which will include online meetings with members on proposed constitutional amendments, on which the WGAE board unanimously recommended a vote.” yes” ahead of a referendum later this spring.

Although WGA East was light on the details of the proposed changes, the guild said the constitution changes, if approved, would create three new vice president positions for each of the work areas covered by WGA East: Film /TV/Streaming, Broadcast/Cable /Streaming News and Online Media.

The Board is also proposing a resolution that would provide a budget increase for the Guild’s organizing efforts and establish an Organizing Committee made up of Board members from all three work areas who would advise and consult staff on potential targets for organization. This would be done to “ensure that members from all sectors of work are represented on the governing body of the union”.

WGA East President Michael Winship hailed the proposal as one that addresses the concerns of WGA East digital media members and film/television writers whom the union was originally founded to protect. Since 2015, WGA East has been heavily involved in organizing digital media outlets like Gizmodo and Vice and has been a source of stability for writers during a time of mass media layoffs.

However, Winship and other film/television branch WGA East leaders and members expressed concern that these writers would soon be outnumbered within the guild and not enough was being done to s ensuring that these members had an influential voice in contract and organizational issues. that have had an impact on their industry sector. Debate over the future of the WGAE organization was at the heart of last September’s council elections, which saw the Winship-led legacy wing occupy leadership positions unopposed while 7 of the 11 open seats on the council went up for election. been occupied by supporters of the digital media organization.

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“The WGAE Council has spent the past few months working together and with an outside facilitator. I think I speak for everyone involved when I say it was a learning process in which everyone shared ideas and listened to each other,” Winship said in a statement. . “Now we are united. I am excited about the result and the next chapter for this brave union of storytellers.

“I am delighted that our governing body has not only created an agreement to increase and formalize our commitment to organizing, but also established a collaborative process to find solutions to challenges in all areas of work,” said Sara David, a WGAE. board member and editor-in-chief of the Netflix editorial team. “These changes mark an exciting new chapter for the WGA East where we can negotiate stronger contracts, expand our recruiting work and ensure that every member’s voice is heard.”

As the referendum vote nears, the digital media organization has moved forward after the WGAE Board unanimously agreed to do so in a vote last February. The headliner of the guild’s organizing work was a six-day strike at Gizmodo Media last month that ended in a bargaining deal with several major improvements in wages and working conditions for workers. from the media site.

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