Why WGA East’s Digital News Organizing Spree May End Under New Leadership

Tuesday’s election has become a referendum on the union’s future as some screenwriters rebel at the prospect of becoming a minority in their own guild

Over the past six years, the Writers Guild of America East has driven a wave of new unions for digital news organizations in a time of constant media layoffs. Now the question of whether to continue that organizing lies at the heart of the WGAE’s council elections, which end on Tuesday and could change the future of both the guild and digital media organizing.

Michael Winship, who is running unopposed for president as is incoming vice president Lisa Takeuchi Cullen, are backing a pause on any new media organizing efforts and a reconsideration of guild membership structure — with spinning off digital news writers into a separate union altogether as one of the possible options. That’s raised alarm from the thousands of such writers from 26 media companies have joined the guild since Gawker became the first digital news outlet to organize with WGAE in 2015.

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Jeremy Fuster

Box Office Reporter • jeremy.fuster@thewrap.com • Twitter: @jeremyfuster