As bargaining for a new contract continues under a media blackout this week, WGA leaders have released a three-minute video urging their members to give them the authority to call a strike if negotiations fail to produce a fair contract by May 1. Balloting for the strike authorization begins next week.
“It’s very important for the members to support this strike-authorization vote,” WGA West board member Matthew Weiner says in the 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.”
Seeking strike authorization “is not the negotiating committee throwing up its hands and saying we’re done,” said committee and WGA East member Kate Erickson.
“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,” says WGA West secretary-treasurer Aaron Mendelsohn, who also sits on the negotiating committee. “It’s absolutely essential.”
Says Zoanne Clack, a member of the board and negotiating committee: “We create the content that is seen all over the world, and the companies are making a lot of profit off that content. We need to leverage the power that we have at the negotiating table so that we are able to get a fair deal.”
Glen Mazzara, also board and negotiating committee member, weighs in: “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.”
The video also features board and negotiating committee members Luvh Rakhe, Meredith Stiehm and Eric Wallace along with board member Carleton Eastlake.