Tonight, WGA West President Patric Verrone issued to members this pre-strike email obtained by me. It paints an ugly picture of what lies ahead for the next three days until the guild’s contract expires. He warned members about “a climate of fear on both sides” and a producers’ strategy of “brinkmanship [that] will likely be met by fear, confusion, and even acrimony”. This sounds to me like a reaction to the ridiculously one-sided slant of today’s Los Angeles Times article:
To My Fellow Members:
As of Monday, we are three days from expiration of our contract. On Friday, the AMPTP told us they didn’t want to meet at the WGAW any longer and that they would next meet with us at their headquarters on Tuesday. This leaves us barely 38 hours to bargain a contract before expiration. Before we meet with our employers again, we will have had nearly a dozen separate meetings with the Negotiating Committee, the Board of Directors, TV showrunners, contract captains, other unions, and even government officials to continue to strategize and do whatever we can to make a deal and avoid a strike.
With that in mind, I have three pieces of information which I want to pass along. First, as you may have heard or read, a Federal Mediator will join the negotiations on Tuesday at the Companies’ suggestion. A mediator has no power to impose a deal, and mediation is no substitute for serious negotiations. As always, the contract settlement must come from the parties.
Second, we are planning a general membership meeting, open to all current-active members, for this Thursday, November 1st. The purpose of the meeting will be to update everyone in person on negotiations and what our options will be from that moment on…
Third, let me say something regarding dissemination of information. In the days to come there will be many rumors, lies, and even threats that will come your way. There is a genuine climate of fear on both sides of this negotiation and it is only natural that misinformation will spread. This used to be limited to word of mouth and the mainstream press but, like much in the 21st century, it has taken on a new form with the Internet. Know that we will not be able to keep up with (much less interfere with or attempt to influence) what is posted on blogs and bulletin boards but we ask you to be discerning in drawing conclusions from those posts and from any source that is not affiliated with the WGA leadership, including the press. In that regard, please also be patient during the time between statements that come directly from the negotiating committee or the leadership. Those statements will always be posted on the WGAW website and disseminated through our contract captains or official Guild e-mails…
On Friday it became clear to us that management’s plan is to stall the talks until the final hours and divide us with a low-ball eleventh hour offer. This sort of brinkmanship will likely be met by fear, confusion, and even acrimony. All that is natural and expected. Therefore, we must be strong and steadfast in our convictions so that we convey the proper message to our employers, to our allies in the entertainment community, to the industry at large, and to each other: That, as much as we don’t want a strike, we want a bad contract even less.
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- Strike Vote In For WGA: 90.3% Say “Yes”
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