The Writers Guild of America, East is affiliated with the Writers Guild of America, west. Together the guilds administer the Writers Guild of America Awards. It is an affiliate of both the International Federation of Journalists and the International Affiliation of Writers Guilds.
That same year, the Screen Writers Guild came into existence in Hollywood, California, but was "little more than a social organization", according to the WGAe's website, until the Great Depression of the 1930s and the growth of the organized labor movement impelled it to take a more active role in negotiating and guaranteeing writers' contractual rights and protections.
In 1933, the ALA and SWG joined forces, and two years later, with passage of the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, called for an election to represent writers of films in collective bargaining agreements; the first such agreement was signed in 1942. Meanwhile, the Radio Writers Guild was formed in New York and became part of the ALA.
A Television Writers Group within the ALA and a separate group, the Television Writers of America, each began representing writers for the nascent television industry beginning in the late 1940s. In 1951, the ALA reorganized into the Writers' Guild of America East and West, in recognition of the growing complexity of representing members in many different fields of entertainment writing. Writers working in motion pictures, TV and radio would be represented by these two new guilds, while the Authors Guild and the Dramatists Guild remained as branches of the ALA to represent print-media writers. The WGAw and WGAE have bargained for writers in movies, TV and radio since 1954. The WGAe became affiliated with the AFL-CIO in 1989, although its sister group WGAw did not join and has not since.
Herb Sargent was the president for fourteen years until his death in 2005.