WGA West President Meredith Stiehm was easily re-elected despite the strike

Meredith Stiehm was easily re-elected president of the WGA West on Tuesday, as the writers’ guild prepares to resume negotiations with major studios amid a strike that has lasted more than 140 days.

Stiehm, creator and executive producer of the CBS series “Cold Case” and writer and executive producer of the acclaimed Showtime drama “Homeland,” has been president since 2021.

She competed against comedy writer Rich Talarico, who wanted to bring the WGA with him more transparency They need to adjust Hollywood’s accounting practices and hold studios more accountable for withholding money from writers. Talarico’s writing credits include the sketch comedy series Key & Peele and Mad TV.

Stiehm received 89% of the votes cast in the election.

Stiehm was a leader in the WGA’s fight against talent agencies several years ago over packaging fees and their ownership of production companies, which the union denounced as conflicts of interest. In 2019, writers fired their agents, leading to agencies ending their practice of charging studios fees for pairing writers with other talent for films and television shows. The agencies also agreed to significantly reduce their shares in affiliated production companies.

Stiehm acknowledged on her candidate website that the strike was a “serious, difficult matter” that she did not take lightly. But she said she learned through her experience in agency struggles that “things are impossible until they aren’t.”

“I believe in shooting high, speaking truth to power and holding the line when necessary,” Stiehm wrote on the website. “I am guided by fairness and principle, and when there is a standoff for a just cause, I am tireless.”

The WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers – which represents major entertainment companies – will meet on Wednesday to continue negotiations. The last meeting between the two sides on August 22 went poorly, after which the AMPTP publicly released a summary of its earlier proposal. This move was viewed by some writers and industry observers as an attempt to bypass the WGA negotiators.

Key issues include minimum staffing in writers’ rooms, job protections from artificial intelligence, and streaming services disclosing more audience data so that writers can be better financially rewarded for successful programs.

Film and television writers have been on strike since early May, and actors joined them on the picket line in mid-July, bringing Hollywood script production to a virtual standstill.

Stiehm’s victory was widely expected. It can be difficult for challengers to beat an incumbent when the WGA has received a very high vote to authorize a strike and members are looking for leadership to show strength in a situation where the stakes are high. Earlier this month, SAG-AFTRA members re-elected President Fran Drescher in a landslide.

“Especially when public solidarity is needed, they choose the incumbents because people rally behind the strike flag,” said Victor Tan Chen, an associate professor of sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University and author of the book “Cut Loose: Unemployed and hopeless in an unfair economy.” “You want to show a united front.”

Incumbents in other top positions, including WGA West Vice President Michele Mulroney and Treasurer Betsy Thomas, were also re-elected, defeating challengers Isaac Gómez and Jeffrey Thompson.

Emma Bowman

Emma Bowman is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Emma Bowman joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing emma@ustimespost.com.

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