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Chris Keyser and David Goodman tell WGA members the fight continues




Chris Keyser and David Goodman tell WGA members the fight continues

Chris Keyser and David Goodman, the veteran showrunners who steered the Writers Guild of America’s five-month strike last year, warned guild members Sunday to remain vigilant in a rapidly changing business landscape despite the gains from last year’s historic labor action.

“Although this strike is over, the struggle continues. If we take our eye off the ball, everything we’ve won could literally disappear tomorrow,” Goodman told the audience at the Writers Guild Awards at the Hollywood Palladium.

Goodman and Keyser served as co-chairs of the WGA’s negotiating committee last year. The pair, both past presidents of the WGA West, were honored with the guild’s Morgan Cox Awards for dedicated service.

“Nothing is given to labor that it does not ask for,” Keyser told the crowd.

Keyser said last year’s long battle was the end result of a long period in which the union became more aggressive in contract negotiations.

“It was about education for the Writers’ Guild. It was a transformation that took almost twenty years, had its pros and cons, and ultimately turned us into a fighting force. It has taught us to trust each other and our allies, and it has led us to accomplish what every person you meet said we couldn’t do. Over and over again,” says Keyser. “It is an unbroken chain of sacrifice and courage that starts with the generation that fought the strikes of 2007 and 2008 – [former WGA West president] Patrick Verrone and [former WGA West executive director] David Young – and it extends to the 2017 strike vote and the 2023 strike.”

References to the strike were frequent in New York, where the WGA East held a simultaneous ceremony at the Edison Ballroom in Manhattan.

“It’s exciting when we won a contract with so many benefits and protections for writers, and since the strike ended in a show of continued solidarity, I’ve been left unemployed,” joked writer Josh Gondelman, who hosted the WGA East ceremony.

Later in the evening, WGA West President Meredith Stiehm took the stage to deliver a long list of thanks to other Hollywood unions and those who supported the guild during the 148-day work stoppage. Stiehm noted that unlike the 2007-2008 strike, the WGA received strong support from fellow unions last year. She indicated that WGA members are prepared to show solidarity with IATSE members later this year if that union goes into a work stoppage. IATSE is currently engaged in contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

Instead of being “lone wolves,” Stiehm told the crowd, “we’re in a pack – a family of Hollywood unions and we’ll be there for other unions like they were there for us because that’s what family does .’

(Photo: Chris Keyser)

Lexi Carson contributed to this report.