That’s what members in the know are telling me. But the vote totals won’t be officially announced until Friday at 3 pm. Here’s some timing news, according to what I’ve heard: The WGA negotiators newly armed with a strike authorization won’t necessarily call for a walkout right after their 3-year contract with the studios and networks expires October 31st. They’ll most likely keep negotiating without a strike call for several weeks (I’ve heard until Christmas but not beyond New Year) since the threat will hang over the heads of the producers and provide an added sense of urgency. A strike call is expected right before the end of the year if more progress isn’t made with AMPTP.
Here are some notes from inside tonight’s WGA meeting: it was not greatly attended but no one seemed to read too much meaning into that. Members who were there chalk that up to the fact that the great majority of the ballots were already mailed back prior to this. The WGA apparently has 3,000 to 4,000 of them already in hand. So the explanation is that the WGA members who didn’t attend felt they didn’t have to come to this informational meeting or to vote there until 8 pm since they’d already sent in their ballots.
Those who did attend were described to me as “completely pro-board through and through”. Lots of applause breaks broke out supporting key WGA organizers and negotiators Patric Verrone, David Young, John Bowman who all came across as very “confidence-inducing” at this crucial stage in the negotiations. Unlike the last informational meeting many of the WGA members attended, there were no questions this time from writers trying to find ways to wiggle (more like, weasel) out of the consequences of a strike. That was one reason why the WGA organizers last week sought to clarify the strike rules for writers as well as for AMPTP’s Nick Counter.
Attendees described the mood of Thursday night’s meeting to me as more hopeful than previous ones. That feeling is because there is more movement from the producers. (See my previous, SHOCKER: Is Writers Strike Now Averted?.) But that is tempered by the fact that the negotiations had a starting place of no movement whatsoever. Verrone, Young et al made a persuasive talking point re the producers’ allegedly “taking rollbacks off the table” by noting there are something like 74 other rollbacks, and really egregious ones, that are still on the table.
The sentiment among the writers seems to be that they’ve done everything they can to show the studios and networks that the WGA is determined this time around. But there’s also a chilling recognition that the producers can still tell the WGA to go fuck themselves. Despite that, there was no sentiment among the guild members attending to fold on the issues important to them. None whatsoever. And the feeling is that the votes will show that.
I’ll have more about the mood in the morning for you…