Verrone Elected WGA West President


New Writers Guild of America, west, President Patric M. Verrone and his slate of candidates have won a decisive win in one of the highest turnouts ever for the Guild.

Verrone was elected president with 68% of the vote, giving his slate of candidates—with 11 votes on the 19-member board—a roughly a two-to-one margin of victory.  The lowest vote recipient from the Writers United slate beat out the next highest vote recipient by more than 500 votes, according to the WGA.

Said Verrone in a statement: "Our slate clearly selected a campaign platform—organizing the creative community to better bargain with media companies—that resonated with writers. This is one of the few times in Hollywood history that the leadership of a creative union has entered office with such a decisive mandate."

Writers have long wanted a bigger piece of the ancillary revenue residual pie, but the industry has steadfastly refused to budge on many of the related issues in previous contract negotiations.

Verrone vowed in a statement to move to dramatically expand the Guild's organizing department and research staff, institute a membership communication system and open lines of dialogue with the new leadership of the Writers Guild East, along with other entertainment guilds.

He also wants to "expand our membership to cover as many working writers in this industry as possible, regardless of the title given them by their employers"—a reference to the union's recently launched organizing campaign, involving a series of class-action lawsuits, against "reality" show producers, broadcast and cable networks.

To accomplish that goal, however, the guild will have to work closely with other unions that already represent "reality" show editors and others that the WGA wants to recruit into its ranks.

David N. Weiss will serve as VP and Elias Davis as secretary-treasurer in the new WGA power structure.  Their running mates, Scott Frank, Robert King, Peter Lefcourt, Joan Meyerson, Phil Alden Robinson, Howard A. Rodman, Tom Schulman, and Dan Wilcox, will join them on the board "and provide a working majority that will enable them to implement their ambitious agenda," the WGA announcement read.

Verrone said the new board members aim to work closely with the eight other sitting board members. "We also want to assure all members that there is plenty of room in the Guild for the service and abilities of the hard-working and devoted men and women who ran for an office or board seat but were not elected.  This campaign showcased the depth of talent available to us to create the next generation of Writers Guild leadership.  We expect to find meaningful roles for everyone."