Members of the Writers Guild of America are urging people to vote “yes” on the strike authorization in a new video if negotiations fail to produce a new, fair contract by the May 1 deadline.
“It’s very important for the members to support this strike-authorization vote,” WGA West board member Matthew Weiner said in the three-minute clip. “The negotiating committee has recommended it because they need as much solidarity as possible to achieve the aims of helping us to participate in the windfall we created in the last five years.”
WGA West secretary-treasurer Aaron Mendelsohn, who is also on the negotiating committee, added, “There are issues on the table that affect some of us; issues that affect all of us, but we have to collectively get behind our negotiating committee and have a strong show of support for the strike authorization vote. It’s absolutely essential.”
The guild, whose contract expires May 1, had been negotiating a new contract for film and TV writers with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), but those talks broke down toward the end of last month. The WGA’s negotiating committee called for a strike authorization vote March 24.
The two sides were set to reconvene at the negotiating table during the week beginning April 10, but the guild has already made contingency plans in the event that it can’t reach a deal with the producers’ alliance. Los Angeles member meetings are set for April 18 and 19, while a New York meeting will also take place on April 19. An online strike authorization vote will begin April 19 at 8:30 p.m. PT through April 24 at noon PT.
“We create the content that is seen all over the world and the companies are making a lot of profit off of that content, and we need to leverage the power that we have at the negotiation table so that we are able to get a fair deal when we go back,” Zoanne Clack, who sits on WGAW board and the negotiation committee, said in the video.
Glen Mazzara, also board and negotiating committee member, added: “We’re just trying to get a little bigger piece of a very, very big pie, that’s all. I’ve been very impressed by how our leadership is leaving their emotions at the door and really focusing on getting the best possible deal. I’ve also been surprised at how tough that deal is to get.”
Last week, the WGAW sent AT&T and Time Warner Cable shareholders a letter, warning them of the impact a strike could have on both earnings and the pending merger between the two. The letter opened with the WGA explaining that a work stoppage will commence on May 2 should no agreement between the WGA and the AMPTP.
Watch the video above.