A New Era for Writers
As the century nears a close (in spirit, if not in fact the century doesn't end until December 31, 2000), we reflect upon the tremendous advances we have made and the challenges yet before us. Writers stand on the brink of a new era an era of continued economic growth, greater creative rights and a renewed appreciation of the writer's part in the creative process by the industry and general public.
The past year has been an especially challenging one for the Guild.
We have made substantial progress in healing internal divisions. The vote to ratify the 1998 WGA-AMPTP MBA and 1998 WGA-Network MBA reflects this new spirit of Guild unity. Essentially the same contract that a year before won narrow approval in WGA, west, but was defeated by an overwhelmingly negative WGA, East vote, was passed last year with an almost identical 80-20 majority on both coasts. As we go into the future, we are determined to build on that spirit of unity, both internally and in our relationship with WGA, East.
Our search for a new Executive Director resulted in the appointment of John McLean, with a resounding vote of support by the membership. John's extensive experience in labor negotiations puts the WGA in an extraordinarily strong position as we turn our sights to the negotiations in 2001. This position of strength is echoed in the soundness of our financial standing, as spelled out in detail in the pages to follow. John's appointment, of course, follows the end of another era at the Guild, that of the leadership of former Executive Director Brian Walton. Brian's 13 years of service to the WGA laid the foundation for many of the successes recounted in this report, and we cannot overstate our gratitude for all he accomplished during his tenure.
Until the next round of negotiations, there is much business to attend to at the Guild. The sheer breadth of our efforts is impressive including residuals negotiations, aggressive enforcement of the MBA, legislative initiatives, issues of writers' public presence, refinements of our credits system, and many others.
The Board has embarked on a major restructuring in recent months. These changes are aimed at improving the efficiency of the Board and the Guild's staff. The creation of Screenwriter and Television Writers Councils, as well as subcommittees of the Board focusing on member service and public presence, gives us an inclusive structure that allows for more effective management of our agenda on a number of fronts simultaneously.
With these changes, and others to come, we boldly turn our sights to the future it is, quite literally, ours to write.
June 30, 1998