Hey gang -
If you’re a member of the WGA you know that our board and officer elections are fast approaching. I was lucky enough to be chosen to be one of the few running for a seat on that board. If you’re an active WGAW member and would like to endorse me, you can do so here. It’s a tough year to run, and every endorsement helps. Here’s my candidate statement on just why you’d maybe want to do that.
Unions thrive on collective will. They stand strong by the might of the many, yet also the sacrifice of today for the sake of tomorrow. In most traditional trade unions, the difference between a beginner and a retiree, in terms of income and of value, is a reasonable amount. So, that means every fight had is a fight for every single member of the union.
Our union is, obviously different. There’s a much wider swath of members, and that has been our strength (and, truth be told, sometimes our weakness.). What has been incredible, especially having served as a show captain and now as a captain during the ATA conflict, is just how much our members care about the actual rank and file.
I’m impressed because, well… I’m a part of that rank and file.
My name is Joshua Hale Fialkov. I’ve been writing professionally for twenty years, first in comic books, then video games, animation, and any other medium that’d take me. I have seen what life is like without a union to protect my basic needs. The best way to sum it up is that my wife and I had to have a private civil service wedding months before our actual wedding so that I could get insurance coverage to pay for treatment of my rare form of diabetes.
I’ve worked on video games for literally years which are released without credit (or royalties), had non-union publishing and animation jobs dissolve after months and months of free work with not so much as an apology, let alone a dollar for my work. I’ve had to write a hundred or more pages a month just to pay my rent and feed my kid.
That was what life is like before I joined the WGA. These past six years that I’ve been in the Guild have been life changing in ways I never could have hoped. For the first time in my adult life as a creative person, I feel protected, paid a livable wage, and, part of a community that strives to make things better at all costs. Thatis why I believe in our Guild and want to repay my debt of gratitude by serving any way possible.
And, I ask you to consider with your vote for the board this year how important it is to have somebody who doesn’t just ‘remember’ what it was like to do that way back when, but, who was doing it less than two or three years ago.
I want to be the voice in the room fighting to protect our pension and health, demanding script parity, script fees for Staff Writers, adjusting exclusivity windowsfor short order shows, and arguing for better span protection.
Many of us younger members have missed the days when networks had reruns, and the green envelopes poured in. I suspect most of us will never see that at all. Instead, we need to have progressive, forward facing solutions to get ahead of the studios and networksand build a life that protects not just us and our families, but the generations to come.
These are complicated times for us. The ATA action has obviously created tension as any unprecedented action is going to. But I have to step back and look at the situation from a wider view. As I said the very core of all unions is collective will. This fight was a fight we voted to take on. Overwhelmingly so. As a Captain, every single e-mail and conversation I had about it I told my team to vote with their conscience, not to play for popularity. Our current leadership said the same thing dozens of times in the town hall meetings, via email, and in every private conversation I had with any of them.
For anyone – especially a candidate to stand before you and say that they never agreed to the current action, or ‘how things have been handled’ or that they feel ‘lied to,’ frankly, proves very simply that they are not clear on how collective action works. Come hell or high water, this is the path we’ve voted to take. Together.
Come what may, this next year is an important one for the Writers Guild, and I would like very much to help make sure that we can stand strong, resolute, and successful for generations to come.