Bill Scheft Candidate Statement

Comedy-variety writers are an influential and vibrant slice of the WGA membership. Especially in the East. That slice should have a seat at the Council table. I won’t lie to you. I am 58-year-old Jew gag writer with a flip phone and zero knowledge of contract or labor law. What I bring is my experience and enthusiasm in carrying the Guild’s message and my passion to fight for my fellow workers.

For 21 years, I was the shop steward at Late Show With David Letterman. During that time, with the help of people like Ruth Gallo, Geoff Betts, Steve King and Gary Wesalo, I aggressively pursued and won favorable rulings that returned almost $2 million in overdue residuals and disregarded payments. Despite an undergraduate degree in Latin and Greek, I came up with the formula that fairly proportioned “combo rerun” pool payments (when multiple episodes are used to create a rebroadcast) and increased those residuals three and four-fold.

During the 2007-2008 strike, I served as a Strike Captain. The Late Show writers were a constant presence on the picket line and online. When Worldwide Pants worked out an interim agreement with the Guild and we (and The Late Late Show) got to return to work a month before the strike was settled, our writers donated a percentage of our salaries to the strike fund and fed those who continued to march until that glorious day at the Crowne Plaza when Terry George announced “We have defeated a tradition of rollbacks that began with the air traffic controllers.”

In the fall of 2013, I was honored to be asked to join the committee that negotiated the current MBA. I sat in on meetings where I understood no more than 7.4 percent of what was said, but I believe it was important to have at least one active late night writer in the room. I still believe.

I am running for Council because I made a promise to myself that when my time working for David Letterman ended, I would give back to the organization that has taken such great pains to take care of me and my brethren. An organization in which I have untold faith. “Faith without works is dead.” And you know when a Jew quotes the King James Bible, he is serious. I’m ready to work. So, if you’ll have me, I’m in.

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