Maybe screenwriter/director Craig Mazin (Scary Movie 3 & 4) of the WGA-bashing website ArtfulWriter.com has seen one too many horror pics. He’s claiming today that the guild members’ strike authorization votes are not private, and the way the voting is taking place is not kosher, either. These are quite explosive allegations, and I don’t believe he substantiates them (see why I say that below). I’d say Marin is doing himself a lot of harm with his jejune blog. What made Marin so paranoid began with an email from his WGA “strike captain” yesterday:
“And she told me that the Guild had informed her that I had not yet voted, and she urged me to vote. What…the…hell???? For as long as I’ve been a member of this union (12 years and counting now), every single vote we’ve ever taken has been a secret ballot. No one knows who votes or who doesn’t vote, and no one shares that information with other members. Furthermore, there was absolutely no indication in the voting materials that this ballot would be handled in any different way than any ballots before it… If the staff is tallying who voted, then what’s stopping them from seeing who voted how? Will they make a list of the “no” voters? And if they do, any guesses as to how long that list gets leaked? Are you now, or have you ever been against the strike?
“What they’re doing isn’t illegal. It’s just unethical and immoral and wrong, and I’m disgusted with leadership for daring to be so bold, and for abandoning such an obvious and necessary prerequisite for a fair and decent democratic referendum. I call upon the Board of Directors of the Writers Guild of America, west to repudiate this policy, and to state clearly that all votes of the general membership be administered solely by an independent third party, that all voting information be held in the strictest of confidence, and that no members should be privy to other members’ voting records in any way. If they fail to enact this policy, then I’ll go over their heads. I’ll go to the membership with a petition to amend the Constitution so that I know this never happens again.”
“ADDENDUM: The difference between all those other votes and the current one is simply this: those envelopes were sent to an independent election supervision entity, where they were compared to membership rolls and tallied by independent parties who did not work for the Guild, nor were members of the Guild, nor have ever been members of the Guild. The counting of ballots and verification of voter eligibility is an essential task that must be performed by disinterested third parties. Not by the Guild itself. This is obvious and fundamental. It’s so obvious and fundamental, it’s the way the union has conducted every single election I’ve been a part of …until now.”
Some of Marin’s commentators explain why what happened is not nefarious. I think Marin is wrong to assume that just because someone knows he or anyone else hasn’t voted means the WGA can then know how he or anyone else did vote. While I do agree the more paranoid WGA members need to be reassured that not only is the ballotting secret but that it was conducted with integrity, Marin is getting told and told that there are already plenty of measures in place already to guarantee that.