With one day to go before its current 3-year contract expires, the WGA said today that its members ratified the new agreement by a huge margin — the ones who actually voted, that is. “The WGA membership overwhelmingly voted in favor of ratifying the contract by 98.5 percent,” the union said in a statement. Ballots were to be cast online, by mail or at membership meetings in New York and Los Angeles on April 29. Not that a lot of the union’s members turned out to actually vote on the deal that was struck on April 2 with the Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers. Of the 8,218 eligible WGA voters, only 1,193 valid votes were actually cast. That’s just 14%. Of those actually voting, there were 1,175 “Yes” votes and 18 “No” votes, according to the union. Last time round in 2011, 1,952 votes were cast with 90.7% voting in favor of the agreement. Having said that, at least the WGA revealed how many members voted. When DGA members ratified their new deal earlier this year, all the union would say was that it was approved by an “overwhelming margin.” The new WGA contract runs from May 2 this year until May 1, 2017.
“Each negotiating cycle is marked by the hard work of the Negotiating Committee, member volunteers, and Guild staff,” WGAW President Chris Keyser and WGAE President Michael Winship said in a statement. “Our thanks go out to all of those who contributed to the process and to the members who participated in the ratification vote. We continue to build on the battles won by our predecessors and fight for the rights of generations to come.” The people sitting across the table from the WGA in the longer than usual, and sometimes tense talks also had something to say today. “We congratulate the Writers Guild of America, West and the Writers Guild of America, East on the ratification of the new Minimum Basic Agreement,” said AMPTP. “We were able to achieve this agreement only because the parties were willing to work together to explore solutions to some difficult issues. We hope to build on that collaborative foundation by encouraging a continuing dialogue with the WGA during the term of the upcoming contract.”
With the DGA’s deal sealed late last year and now the WGA contract approved, only SAG-AFTRA still has to sit down with the studios and networks. In its first such negotiation since merging in 2012, the union is set to start talks on May 5. The current SAG-AFTRA contract runs out on June 30.