Ashley Gable.jpg

Ashley Gable

CANDIDATE STATEMENT

A recovering attorney, I’ve been a WGA member and working drama writer since 1996. My Guild service began in the 2007/8 strike, when I was a picket coordinator at Fox. Now I’m also a recovering strike captain. In the years since, I’ve served on various WGA committees and, very importantly to me, on our Pension & Health Board. Now I hope to work for writers by serving on the WGA Board of Directors.

And I hope to serve with David Slack, Deric A. Hughes and Patti Carr. We are running for the Board together because we want to get stuff done on these shared priorities and values:

The two upcoming NEGOTIATIONS. SUPPORT FOR SCREENWRITERS. ENDING UNPAID WRITING in every medium. INCLUSION AND EQUALITY wherever writers write. And collective ENFORCEMENT of our rules.

 

NEGOTIATIONS: WE HAVE WORK TO DO

Over the next two years, writers are facing two important contract negotiations: first the agency agreement (AMBA), and a year later, the Minimum Basic Agreement with the Companies (MBA). Remember how great it felt last year when we worked to become so united, so organized, and the membership could soak up all that sweet, sweet solidarity? Yeah, we have to do that again. Twice.

As to the Agency agreement, yes, packaging is a big issue, but there is more to get. Agents should be required to help clients fight free writing and late pay instead of abetting it, for example. And in the MBA negotiation, there are so many issues we haven’t been able to bear down on in prior years because the Companies were threatening our health care. Like increased minimums and script parity across all platforms to name just two. (You are busy people and I’m trying to keep it short.)

To get anything, we must be unified. As a Board member, I will work to maintain and build on the high level of organizing and solidarity that we achieved last year. I will work for all writers – screen, TV, every medium – so that all writers win gains in our next AMBA and MBA negotiations.

 

SCREENWRITER ISSUES MATTER. A LOT.

I am not a screenwriter. But I will work to make screenwriters’ issues as important in all negotiations as TV issues are.  Recently I have spoken to some prominent screenwriters about the situation out there, and it is rough. Sixty percent of screenwriters who are actually working are doing so at minimums. Our brothers and sisters in screen are hurting. Helping them is not just a moral, but a strategic issue. Strength through solidarity. Screenwriters showed up for the strike authorization vote last year, to help all writers. Now all writers have to show up for them. Let’s look at creative ways to reform screen credits rules. End late pay. End free writing. Speaking of which…

 

END UNPAID WRITING: SCREEN AND TV (AND EVERYWHERE)

Free writing is a problem for all writers. Some are asked to write for free to get a job (comedy-variety “packets” and “leave behinds” demanded of screenwriters by studios, e.g.), and others are asked to write for free to keep a job (“producers’ passes” in features and innumerable free documents in TV {“story areas” anyone?}). And please don’t @ me about packets. Although they look a little like specs, there are crucial differences (like you can’t use a packet to get a job on any show but the one you wrote it for). Writing them should be compensated. Because all writers are affected by the freewrites issue, it’s one we can really mobilize around in the next AMBA and MBA negotiations. I will work to make that happen.

 

INCLUSION AND DIVERSITY: IT’S WAY PAST TIME, Y’ALL

In 2008/9, I realized that in my twelve-ish years as a working writer, I had worked with about seventy writers, and FOUR WERE NON-WHITE. I was so mad that, with other writers and Guild staff, I helped develop the Writer Access Project for TV writers. (It has since been expanded to include screenwriters.) Now it’s almost ten years later, and the problem of diversity in writers’ rooms has not really improved. And I’m still mad. I will work to help the WGA set and achieve specific goals in the area of discriminatory hiring. We must find ways to incentivize and to help the Companies and our members hire writers of color. Sexual discrimination and harassment are also areas where much more must be done. The Companies and Guilds must create a third-party reporting system for harassment claims, for example.

 

ENFORCEMENT IS EVERYTHING

Surprise, I’m pro-enforcement. But seriously, nothing will get done if we don’t articulate a plan, so here’s ours: The WGA should collect and publish data on studio compliance with our rules. We must continue organizing efforts such as the recent “Get Paid on Time” campaign for TV led by my colleagues Patti Carr and David Slack. Technology can play a part, such as the “Screenwriter Start Button” (now in beta), by which you can notify the Guild that you have started work. And we must organize our membership in all platforms so that paper-teaming, freewrites and other MBA violations are not tolerated by our members as a group. Enforcement should be a team sport, just like negotiations are.

 

POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE – SO D.C. CARES ABOUT OUR ISSUES, TOO

Net neutrality and even organized labor itself are now under attack by politicians and the FCC. If elected to the Board I will continue my advocacy for the WGA’s Political Action Committee. I have been on the PAC Board for a few years and continue to be pleasantly shocked at how much influence our little Guild has. That work must continue and grow.

 

VOTE FOR PATTI CARR, DERIC A. HUGHES AND DAVID SLACK

Patti Carr, Deric A. Hughes and David Slack and I are running for the Board together. They deserve your vote, too.

I have known current Board member Patti Carr since we were picket coordinators during the strike. After picketing in the hot sun there were interminable meetings – like writers’ rooms but people smelled worse and were far more irritable. Patti was a rock star then and has continued to do great work on the Board this year. Deric A. Hughes has impressed the hell out of me since the day we met. He has great ideas and thinks strategically, and has a passion for making inclusion and diversity a priority instead of an afterthought. David Slack and I have worked together on a show and for the WGA, and he’s so smart, you guys. He has put that big brain and big heart to work for writers on the Pension & Health Board and the Inclusion & Equity Committee, and he’ll do it again on the WGA Board.

The four of us have specific, shared ideas on issues that face writers in the next two years. We want to get stuff done. Please vote for all four of us so we can do that.

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