WGA Issues: September 2006 Archives
Ed. Note: If you’re a member of the WGAw, you should have received a voting packet recently. One of the ballots is for the Board of Directors. The other is to ratify the appointment of David Young as Executive Director of the WGAw. I think you should vote NO on this, and I wrote a “con” statement in the booklet. In case you’ve chucked it in the trash, here’s why I think you should vote NO. Thanks for reading.
As a member of the Executive Search Committee as well as the Board of Directors, I have the difficult task of asking you to cast your “No” vote today and refrain from ratifying David J. Young as our Executive Director.
When faced with a ballot choice of “someone” or “no one,” “someone” usually seems like a better option. But understand that a “No” vote does not mean we will be left without leadership or an Executive Director. A “No” vote today will not impact the upcoming negotiations, which are so important to our economic survival. A “No” vote simply instructs the Board and the Search Committee to provide you with a better option.
I’m not here to bury David Young. David is a good man with an area of expertise. Yet, simply put, the Search Committee found a better candidate. I wish I could tell you everything I know about the other candidate, but the constraints of confidentiality prevent me from doing so. I can tell you this.
The other candidate is an executive for one of the country’s most successful and powerful unions. David Young has never held that kind of responsibility prior to joining the WGA.
The other candidate has decades of experience negotiating with a very powerful owners’ cartel similar to the networks and studios we negotiate with. David Young does not have experience negotiating collective bargaining agreements, much less under the unique circumstances we face every three years.
The other candidate represents a union of highly talented, highly-paid employees whose interests intersect with the media, intellectual property law and profit sharing. David Young’s experience is with seamstresses, carpenters and plumbers whose employment issues are not similar to ours.
The other candidate’s union was faced with a threat from a new, non-union work force (like we are with reality TV). The other candidate organized those non-union workers before they began day one on the job. David Young has not had that kind of success, and his last major organizing effort on behalf of seamstresses for Guess Jeans was a complete failure.
The other candidate has solid labor roots that go back 30 years, with connections to the AFL-CIO. David Young does not.
For the last year, I’ve watched David Young carefully, and I’ve been modestly impressed. He’s risen to the challenge of being the interim Executive Director but not, in my mind, to being our permanent leader.
Indeed, there have been significant failures.
Despite the statement of one candidate in the last election that all reality writers would be under our jurisdiction by the start of 2006, we haven’t brought one single reality writer into our union. Under David’s leadership, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent on expensive miscues, such as employees that David has hired and then quickly fired, ineffective corporate campaigns like Subservient Donald and the Product Invasion website, and various guerilla tactics that have done little more than garner fleeting curiosity from the press. Our expenses are way up, and our income is down.
In short, David’s heart is in the right place, but his strategies for our union have been scattershot and ever-changing. We simply can’t afford that. The other candidate brings a track record of focus, achievement and vision, and the Search Committee’s impression of this candidate was unanimously positive.
I believe it is this other candidate, not David Young, who can strike fear into the hearts of the networks and studios. I believe it is this other candidate, not David Young, who can last beyond any one President or any one negotiation. I believe it is this other candidate, not David Young, who can bring our union into the 21st century.
I know that David is a popular choice among our current Guild politicians. They’ve worked with him, and frankly, they gave him this job. He’s “their guy.” But you’re not electing their guy today.
You’re electing our guy.
Vote “No.” David can still lead our Organizing Department, but we have superior choices for the top job, and there’s never been a more important time to be choosy.
We can do better than our last Executive Director, John McLean, and we can do better than David Young…a man that John McLean found and hired.
Vote “No” and give us the chance to bring you a candidate more worthy of your support.