2019 DGA Membership Meeting in Chicago

DGA Hosts Membership Meeting in Chicago

November 19, 2019

On November 19, DGA members living in the Midwest came together to network with their peers and hear updates about the Guild’s during the general membership meeting in Chicago. Hosted by the Chicago Coordinating Committee (CCC), the evening was part of the Guild’s ongoing efforts to serve members residing outside Los Angeles and New York and provided an opportunity to meet DGA National Vice President Mary Rae Thewlis, who served as the keynote speaker. The gathering was also attended by Eastern Directors Council Chair Vincent Misiano, Eastern Executive Director Neil Dudich, DGA Director of Local Stations Vincent Torregiano and DGA Field Representative Jennifer Peat, who serves as the liaison to the Committee.

Following a cocktail reception, Thewlis, thanked the Committee for its efforts on behalf of the membership, noted the recent re-election of CCC co-chair John Thomas Wekony, Jr., the election of new co-chair Richard Lederer and acknowledged the presence of all attending CCC members: Directors Paul J. Kotkovich, Tracey J. Lafferty, Harlan J. Shapiro and Cheryl A. Stutzke; AD/UPMs Gretchen A. Brown, Jason M. Dusenske, Natasha Parker and John Quilico; and AD/SM/PAs Guy DiBenedetto (Committee Alternate), Nicholas Georgouses (Committee Alternate), William M. Natale (Committee Alternate), John Pudelek (Committee Alternate) and Eric W. Roberts.

“Our Chicago leaders work hand in hand with the Guild’s professional staff, a group of committed executives who dedicate their working lives to protecting our rights,” said Thewlis. “I’m pleased to report how effectively our structure continues to serve us. We recently just concluded our Network Negotiations with ABC, CBS and NBC covering our members working in news, sports and at local stations WMAQ, WLS and WBBM.”

After detailing some of the gains achieved during the Network Negotiations, Thewlis brought the attendees up to speed on the general shape of the Guild –excellent—and touched on some of the challenges that will be faced going into the upcoming Basic Agreement and FLTTA negotiations.

Turning her comments to the state of affairs in the Midwest, Thewlis noted that production continues to thrive with multiple series being shot in the region and how the film and TV industry supported nearly 16,000 jobs. That achievement was partly due to the Illinois Tax Incentive which the DGA was part of the coalition which helped secure passing and the Governor recently extended through 2026 to keep production in the area stable and thriving.

In closing, Thewlis pointed out how bright the outlook seemed but reminded those present that success would only come from continued dedication to the mutual goals. “It’s taken a lot to get to this point. Today, with a healthy local production landscape, and a team of DGA staff members firing on all cylinders on behalf of our Chicago members, the right pieces are falling into place. There’s a lot of work here left to do, and more improvements to be made. And to get there, we look forward to maintaining our high level of service for our Chicago members, now and into the future.”

The meeting concluded with a dinner where Thewlis, Misiano, Dudich, Torregiano and Peat mingled with the attendees and were able to address questions.

About the Committee:

The Chicago Coordinating Committee was formed in the mid-1960s to coordinate Guild activities in the Chicago Area, including acting as liaison between members and the Guild, disseminating information, and promoting public awareness of the Guild. The Committee is Co-Chaired by Director Thomas Wekony, Jr. and UPM Richard S. Lederer.

photos by Jeff Kash