WGAE’s Letter to President Obama about FCC Nominations

WGAE President Michael Winship and Executive Director Lowell Peterson urged President Obama to nominate to the FCC commissioners who are "committed to the robust, open communication of ideas and programs over the airways and wires." Click here to read more.

WGAE Sends Delegation to Albany

On May 30, a delegation of WGAE members and staff went to Albany to remind state Assemblymembers and Senators that the great television shows and movies filmed in New York start with scripts written by Guild members.

Front row: Courtney Simon, John Marshall, Bonnie Datt; Back row: Kyle Bradstreet, Jason Spiegel, Michael Winship, Richard Winston, Lowell Peterson, Geoff Betts

Unions Make Health Care Affordable, by Lowell Peterson

Lost in the scrum surrounding the Supreme Court’s review of the health coverage mandate in the Affordable Health Care Act (a mandate which, it should be noted, was first proposed by conservatives as an alternative to anything that might resemble government-provided universal coverage) is a discussion of how we got into this position in the first place. Although we are proud to be the most prosperous nation in history, tens of millions of Americans cannot afford health care.Click HERE to continue reading at Huffington Post…

WGAE Urges the FCC to Stop Consolidation of Ownership of News

Excerpts from the Guild’s comments to the FCC:“The Writers Guild of America, East takes issue with the assertion made by various media companies that consolidation of ownership frees up resources to improve news coverage. There is no substitute for spending on trained, experienced journalists and giving them the time and resources necessary to investigate, write, and produce material that is well-researched, thoughtful, and reliable. Simply permitting television, radio, internet, or newspaper outlets to combine will inevitably result in less substance, in the absence of clearly-defined requirements that specific levels of resources be devoted to journalism…"Click here to read the entire press release.

Demonstration at ITV’s New York HQ

Friday morning, October 21, the Writers Guild of America East protested outside the New York offices of ITV Studios demanding that the company, which produces highly successful scripted reality television programming, give its American employees the same rights as their unionized British counterparts. WGAE was joined in the action by members of the Writers Guild of Canada, Writers Guild of Great Britain, Irish Writers Guild, Scriptwriters Guild of Israel, Societe des auteurs de radio, television et cinema (SARTEC) – the Quebec guild – Writers Guild of America, West, La Guilde (French Writers Guild), Australian Writers Guild and New Zealand Writers Guild.

In December 2010 the National Labor Relations Board conducted an election, in which ITV employees voted for the WGAE as their representative.  ITV refuses to honor this vote. Yesterday the International Affiliation of Writers Guilds passed a resolution calling upon ITV Studios and its U.S. subsidiary to honor the results of the election and to recognize the WGAE and negotiate in good faith. 

See more pictures here.

Writers March in Labor Day Parade

 

Members gave many reasons for marching in NYC’s annual Labor Day Parade “Unions built the middle class and they are the only hope of preserving it” said David Auburn (pictured below left with John Yarbrough). “People fought long and hard for our rights” said Tom Kemnitz (pictured above left with Marygrace O’Shea). Members offered suggestions for Guild appropriate chants– movie quotes including  “May the Schwartz be with you!” and “We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take this anymore!”.View more pictures from the parade.

Unions Must Change as American Workers Move from the Factory to the ‘Information Economy’

Executive Director Lowell Peterson explains to Alternet how the WGAE is able to build professional and economic solidarity even in the absence of large worksites where people have daily contact with each other. Read his article.

Writers Go to DC to Defend Public Media

On March 15 PBS writers went to Capitol Hill to help deliver over 1 million petition signatures– including signatures from hundreds of Guild members, calling on congress to save PBS. A coalition of groups including AFTRA, Credo Action, CWA, Free Press, MoveOn and NABET held a press conference and presented the signatures to congressional offices.

Writers Guild members Adam Peltzman (The Electric Company), Larry Klein (NOVA), Sarah Hold (NOVA, American Exerpience and William Levin (Sesame Street), participated in this action on behalf of the Guild.

The Hillnewspaperquoted the press conference:

"It’s ironic that while some people are maneuvering to defund public broadcasting that so many of those same people started their day listening to NPR," Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) said. Bob McGrath, a Sesame Street actor, said public broadcasting is a "necessity to our society." It’s "not a frill," he said.

See more photos from our day at the Capitol here. 

To learn more about the March 15 delegation visitSAVEtheNews.orgRead the letter PBS writers sent to Congress.

Sesame Street actor Roscoe Orman (“Gordon”) with writer William Levin (Sesame Street) in front of the Capital building.

Sesame Street actor Emilio Delgado (“Luis”) and writer Adam Peltzman (The Electric Company)

Larry Klein (NOVA) and William Levin

WGAE issued the following statement today in response to today’s FCC vote on Net Neutrality

For Immediate Release:     “A compromise means the parties to a dispute reach agreement. Here, no one has agreed to anything. These tepid rules will be challenged in court and in Congress, and they fail in the most fundamental ways – permitting paid prioritization and all manner of discrimination in wireless.  Our members write most of what people watch on television and in the movie theaters and increasingly, online.  Today’s FCC vote will diminish our members’ ability to create and distribute innovative content and audiences’ ability to watch the content of their choice.”The Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO, is a labor union representing writers in motion pictures, television, cable, digital media, and broadcast news. The WGAE conducts programs, seminars, and events on issues of interest to, and on behalf of, writers. In addition, it represents writers’ interests on the legislative level.  For more information on the Writers Guild of America, East, visit www.wgaeast.org.

WGAE Meets with FCC Commissioner Copps

On Friday, December 3, a WGAE contingent met with Michael Copps, one of the five members of the Federal Communications Commission.  We discussed the consolidation of ownership of media companies, the downward financial pressures on broadcast news, and Net Neutrality.

Commissioner Copps has been a stalwart and articulate supporter of the rights of communities and creators in an environment dominated by powerful communications companies.  Read his most recent remarks here [PDF].

Representing the WGAE were President Michael Winship, Executive Director Lowell Peterson, Director of Communications Elana Levin, Director of Organizing Justin Molito, and Business Agent Geoff Betts.