Just one day after the WGA ratified its three-year Minimum Basic Ageement, WGA East Executive Director Lowell Peterson has announced that he will be stepping down from the position when his current contract expires on Nov. 15. Peterson has been with the WGA for 15 years, joining the guild as a partner and labor specialist with the firm of Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein.
“I am proud of my work to transform the WGAE into a more powerful force for writers,” Peterson said in a statement about the amicable split. “I am grateful to have had the opportunity to collaborate with such extraordinary leaders, members, and staff. Their activism, creativity, and diligence have been essential to our success.”
Peterson led the WGAE staff’s efforts in the strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and signatory employers, but it’s been reported that the union’s membership has doubled among television and movie writers during Peterson’s tenure, as well as with formerly non-union sectors such as nonfiction TV, podcasting, and online media.
In her own statement, WGAE President Lisa Takeuchi Cullen said: “We thank Lowell for his years of service to the Writers Guild of America East and his dedication to the cause of organized labor. Lowell came to our union at a transformational time. Over his tenure, he helped facilitate significant changes in the Guild’s membership and agenda. We wish him all success going forward.”
The Writers Guild of America East Council is already searching for the next executive director. WGAE’s Director of Contract Enforcement & Credits, Geoff Betts, will serve as the Interim Executive Director beginning on Nov. 16.
This story was initially reported by Variety.