WGA Strike Leaders Chris Keyser and David Goodman Warn Members to Stay Vigilant: ‘The Strike is Over, the Fight Goes On’

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

“Though this strike is over, the fight goes on. If we take our eye off the ball, everything we gained can literally go away tomorrow,” Goodman told the crowd at the Writers Guild Awards at the Hollywood Palladium.

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Goodman and Keyser served as co-chairs of the WGA’s negotiating commttee 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 demand,” Keyser told the crowd.

Keyser said the long struggle of last year was the end result of a long period of getting the union to be more aggressive in contract negotiations.

“It was about education for the Writers Guild. It was a transformation that took nearly 20 years and had its ups and owns and in the end it turned us into a fighting force. It taught us to trust each other and our allies and it led us to accomplish that which every single person that you meet said we could not do that. Again and again,” Keyser said. “It’s an unbroken chain of sacrifice and bravery that begins with the generation that fought the strike of 2007 and 2008 — [former WGA West president] Patrick Verrone and [former WGA West executive director] David Young — and it extends to to the strike authorization vote of 2017 and the strike 2023.”

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 exhilarating when we won a contract with so many benefits and protections for writers and since the strike ended as a show of enduring solidarity, I have remained unemployed,” joked late-night writer Josh Gondelman, who hosted the WGA East ceremony.

Later in the night, WGA West president Meredith Stiehm took the stage to deliver a long list of thank-yous to other Hollywood unions and those who supported the guild during its 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 demonstrate solidarity with IATSE members later this year if that union winds up in a work stoppage. IATSE at present is deep in contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

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

(Pictured: Chris Keyser)

Lexi Carson contributed to this report.

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