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The following letter to the editor was submitted to the Beaver Countian for publication by Michael Winship, President of the Writers Guild of America, East. The letter is in response to an op-ed written by Matt Nelko and published by the Beaver Countian on December 13th.

The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) is a labor union affiliated with the AFL-CIO standing up for thousands of writers working in movies, television and news. We represent the storytellers who bring you Saturday Night Live and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, such feature films as Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea, ABC World News Tonight and the CBS Evening News.

As you can see, we are a community of creative professionals. We strongly believe in the power of education and worry that our generation could become the first to teach the next generation less than we know – unless we have gifted educators secure in the knowledge that their work is valued. That is why we proudly stand with the 190 teachers in the Ambridge Area School District who have returned to work after a three-week strike, even though they do not yet have a contract.

Unaccustomed to getting involved in a local dispute, the Guild felt it became necessary when one of our council members wrote an op-ed in the Beaver Countian opposing the strike. We have a proud history of fighting to ensure that people get to do their work properly and build sustainable careers. These are the fundamental reasons teachers went on strike in Ambridge.

Educators want to be able to do their jobs well and for the long haul, but the contract the board has offered does not afford them that right. If the Ambridge School District is truly concerned with developing an engaged and successful student body – creating a new generation of knowledgeable, informed citizens including yes, storytellers — then it must return to the bargaining table in good faith to settle a contract with those students’ teachers. Thank you for your attention.

In solidarity,

Michael Winship, President
Writers Guild of America, East


  1. “We represent the storytellers who bring you Saturday Night Live and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, such feature films as Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea”

    “we proudly stand with the 190 teachers in the Ambridge Area School District”


    • Well, they are right! Stop being so damn selfish Ambridge residents and get these people their raise! And forget about insulting them by asking for more contribution to their benefits. It’s THEIR money!

      And while we are at it, gladly pay your county tax hike, everyone. And smile when you pay more gas tax, higher turnpike tolls and get a $150 passport so you can fly to Chicago this year. And get the damn checkbook out and donate. To your church, charities and sign up for blood and organ donation. While you’re at it, get off your dumb ass and volunteer your time when you get home from that second job. Do all this AND remember to save for your own damn retirement and shop around to get a good health plan. And for God’s sake, support community events, local businesses and fill up every can shaken in your face.

      EVERYBODY gets a raise EVERY year, what the hell is your excuse? Just selfish, I guess.

  2. Ahem…Isn’t this special? Seems to me that the Writers Guild did not take too kindly to Nelko’s OP-ED. Isn’t he one of their members? Where’s all of the public ranting and raving that is so typical of this site on this topic? Oh, I forgot, it’s not about Connie or anyone in the courthouse.

    • Mr. Nelko made sure that everybody knew his union affiliation….He made it sound like the union was behind his comments…..apparently he was speaking without his union’s knowledge

  3. I really want to know what kind of tongue lashing that cat took from his union for going on record with his stupid ass opinion that no one cares about anyway.

  4. These people lost all credibility in their first paragraph. SNL and Steven Coal-Bert? (Yes, like AlBERT. He’s not French, He’s a ASSHOLE.)

    Those teachers could go to hell. NO MORE MONEY or BENEFITS! PERIOD! Go get another job if your not happy.

  5. What a thoughtful boiler plate response. The Writers Guild must have taken a whole minute to cut and paste this verbiage from their tired union talking points. Instead of spending 75% of your letter extolling the virtue of your union, perhaps you could have rebutted a single point of your dues paying member, Mr. Nelko. You clearly have no idea of the issues, financial status, tax implications or history of the school district. Perhaps this letter can be used by Ambridge students to learn how NOT to respond an educated argument.

    • Well it says their office is in New York City, so CLEARLY the president knows oh so well all of the background of the area, the taxes, the school performance scores, etc. BTW anyone else been blocked from the AAEA’s FB page? Because if you disagree with them or ask too many questions, you either have your comments deleted or you’re just blocked (in case you haven’t noticed that their page only has agreeable people on there anymore, don’t want to teach kids how to handle differences of opinion or freedom of speech). Smh

  6. This is about money that just is not there. Let us be honest here, It has nothing to do with the quality of education.

    • Let us be honest Wanda, the tenure, education level and job satisfaction of our teachers has EVERYTHING to do with the quality of education that our children receive.

      • Ambridge School district is a shit hole. The quality of the education recieved in Ambridge is abysmal. Their test scores are abolutely pathetic. Please don’t say that standardized tests are meaningless. That is just one more teacher union mantra. You don’t hear the people in North Allegheny or Pine Richland or any other high performing school complaining about standardized tests. That is because they are doing what they are supposed to be doing and actually educating their children.

      • economyresident you have come to a conclusion here- “with the quality of education that our children receive.” IMO should read with the quality of education that our children receive/or do not receive.

    • Hey Mrs Wanda……” You don’t live here!!!” Your pithy opinion doesn’t matter!!! Hope that helps!
      Mungo feels pretty certain a few of the real creative writers for the guild read some of his previous comments and recognized right away the obvious talent! But throwing out an example of SNL skit writing as a gem on ones resume is simply lame. The show has sucked for many years! One positive take away at least is we don’t have a sitting Senator like Al Franken with all of his nasty potty humor.

  7. Perhaps the Writers Guild of America can fund a grant to help pay for the raises. If they want to step up and get involved, they should be part of the solution. We would love any financial support they can offer.

  8. Well with some of the embellished stories I hear on ABC/CBS news they are very talented writers . All the good SNL writers probably retired 20 years ago, about the time our Treasurer should have…

  9. This is just one greedy union sticking up for another greedy union. Who cares what these assholes have to say ? They don’t live here and never have.

  10. Writers guild? More like the lollipop guild. Union thugs pimping for hostage takers hoping to plunder the budget until there is no Ambridge School District. If you are unhappy, move along. There are plenty of jobs paying over 40K with months off and a zillion holidays out there. NOT! Because you are teachers you are so valuable that you can’t be replaced. Wanna bet? Why didn’t you march all summer to picket instead of holding students hostage. No different than Al Qaeda or ISIS, just different country. Shame on the school board and the union. Inept school board and greedy teachers. Pay your fair share for insurance like the rest of the free world. Quit whining. It’s the elderly taxpayers of the school district (what few aren’t on welfare) whop are getting screwed by both of you spoiled knuckleheads!

  11. Something is wrong here, with these two op-ed whiners, but I’m not interested in researching it. It comes down to two people in fancy jobs bickering about one’s high school and ramping it up to make it seem as though literacy and or the teaching profession is imperiled by greedy teachers in Western PA. It looks like their petty personal squabble is another exercise in soap opera storytelling. Cue the one-liners and canned laughter to make their days and let the WGAE feel relevant here in the Rust Belt. What’s wrong, guys? Did one of you steal the other’s girl or guy? Cry on Ellen’s show, not here, ’cause I’m not buying it.

  12. Our legislators could fix this issue once and for all if they had the balls to stand up to the teachers extortion league. Move school funding to the state level, equal for all and ban ALL government unions. NO MORE PLUNDERING THE E4LDERLY TAXPAYERS IN THIS STATE.

  13. Interesting how you indicate that you are concerned about the quality of the education that the next generation receives but you fail as a union to support the idea of individual teacher evaluations similar to an annual review in the private sector where under performers are placed on an improvement plan and then terminated if they fail to improve. Instead, you support a collective bargaining system that provides union protection for teachers who should be terminated because they are ineffective at their job. IF you cared about the quality of education you would be FULLY behind ridding the classroom of incompetent teachers regardless of their seniority or graduate degree…. So until you put the appropriate principles behind your words you are just one more collective bargaining unit coming to the aid of someone else in the “brotherhood” and your opinion is as worthless as your complete lack of concern for true quality education.

  14. Having bargaining units in the schools limits their ability to find and hire the best teachers. It essentially squelches competition. A fantastic educator with 10 years at one school will find it difficult to get the same pay at another due to limitations in the contracts and “steps.”

  15. I agree Raven. This article is so BIZARRE.

    Why is Michael Winship, President of The WGAE located in New York NY voicing support FOR the teachers union strike in far away Ambridge Pa, especially when Matt Nelko, a member of the WGA board of directors, a New York resident but an alumni of Ambridge, is OPPOSED to the strike?

    Yes, something doesn’t smell right here. Does Michael Winship, the Writers Guild President have a personal beef with Matt Nelko, one of his own board members, and he just HAS to disagree with him any chance he gets? More importantly, who gives a shit?

  16. It’s all bullshit, jaybird, but you know that. A concocted pseudo argument designed by a Bridger graduate to impress his hometown friend rubes, and maybe to get laid when he goes back home again for a wild weekend. Happens all the time. No class.

  17. Maybe they can write a large check out. So our taxes do not keep going up also. They can have their own opinion but do they consider the elderly now that could be faced with losing their houses due yo the high school tax increase now. Plus our test scorrs are not the nicest for high paid teachers!!!!

  18. Tax the elderly out of their homes, WTF do the greedy self serving pieces of shit teachers care? I got mine. Get a job at the courthouse where extortion is legal.



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