WGA's Verrone: "Every Writer Must Have a WGA Contract"

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Speaking at a rally Wednesday in Los Angeles, Writers Guild Of America, West President Patric Verrone unveiled a new doctrine for his organization as the WGA looks to unify its constituency prior to contract negotiations next year. The WGA deal expires in October 2007.

"Every piece of media with a moving image on a screen or a recorded voice must have a writer," Verrone told a gathering of several hundred writers in Pan Pacific Park. "And every writer must have a WGA contract."

The "unity rally" was organized to support the 12 striking America’s Next Top Model writers on the day the show debuts on the new CW network. Writers wore red T-shirts with the words "United We Stand" and held various pickets signs identifying their shows or line of work. They entered the outdoor amphitheater as the defiant Twisted Sister anthem "We’re Not Gonna Take It" blared over the loudspeakers.

The Top Model staffers sat in the front row as writers such as Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry spoke from the dais while others such as Everybody Loves Raymond’s Phil Rosenthal looked on from the crowd.

The rhetoric at the event was never acerbic but centered around organizing all writers behind causes such as the pay model for digital downloads and healthcare. The Shield creator Shawn Ryan also opted for a constructive tone when describing "the companies" who will sit on the other side of the negotiating table.

"Some would call them enemies," he said. "I prefer to call them partners. Partners with problems, yes, but partners nonetheless."

The hour-long event ended with Verrone leading the entire group on a march past CBS, a co-owner of the CW.

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