The Writers Guild of America East (WGAE) members have elected Lisa Takeuchi Cullen as its new president. Cullen, who was an unopposed candidate for the posititon, takes over for outgoing president Michael Winship, who announced his decision to not seek reelection of his longtime post over the summer.
“I am honored to become the next President of the Writers Guild of America East,” Takeuchi Cullen said in a statement. “Even when we negotiate a fair deal with the Hollywood studios — and it is a when, not an if — I know the fight is not over. The fight continues for all of our members, TV and screenwriters as well as journalists and podcasters, to achieve compensation commensurate to the value of our important work. The fight continues for all workers to earn a life of dignity. The fight continues for all labor to put human rights over corporate profits. As the first person of color and third woman to lead our 69-year-old union, I will continue my career-long push for more equity and opportunities among all storytellers. That is, after all, what we are. Our stories matter. Our work matters. And I will fight like hell to make sure no one tells us otherwise.”
In addition to electing Takeuchi Cullen president, as part of its 2023 council election, the WGA East has re-elected Christopher Kyle to secretary-treasurer; Erica Saleh has been elected vice president of the Film/Television/Streaming sector; and Sofia Alvarez, Josh Gondelman, Liz Hynes, Greg Iwinski, Sarah Montana and Sasha Stewart were elected to serve on the Film/TV/Streaming members council. Additionally, Caitlin Cruz, Sie Morley and Samantha Smylie were elected to the Online Media members council. There were no open seats in the Broadcast/Cable/Streaming News council.
Kyle, Gondelman, Hynes, Iwinski, Stewart and Cruz are all incumbents re-elected to their positions. Saleh, who currently serves on the Film/Television/Streaming council, will vacate her council seat at mid-term. Per WGAE rules, the officers and council members in the same sector can choose to fill the vacancy with “either the unsuccessful candidate from that work sector who received the most votes in the previous election or another eligible member in the same work sector.” WGAE says the decision on that position will be made in the near future.
WGAE council members who are currently serving with one year left in their term include: Film/Television/Streaming sector’s Monica Lee Bellais, Kaitlin Fontana, Gina Gionfriddo, Tian Jun Gu and A.M. Homes; Online Media sector’s vice president Sara David, Susan Rinkunas and Jessica Schulberg; the Broadcast/Cable/Streaming News sector’s vice president Kathy McGee, Justin Raffael DiLauro, Elizabeth Godvik and Gail Lee.
Per the WGA East, “Votes were cast by 13.3% of total eligible voters (7,166) for President and Secretary-Treasurer. In Film/TV/Streaming, votes were cast by 19.1% of eligible voters (4,183). In Online Media, votes were cast by 7.5% of eligible voters (2,012). In Broadcast/Cable/Streaming News, votes were cast by 8.03% of eligible voters (971).”
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