The first votes were cast tonight to authorize the first writers’ strike against the film and TV industry in a decade, and although they won’t be counted until next Monday, it now appears all but certain that members of the WGA East and West will give their leaders the authority to call a strike if next week’s last-ditch contract talks fail to produce a fair agreement.
“I’m voting for it,” said one writer. “If you don’t, you’re voting against yourself.”
The votes were cast at a special membership meeting at the Universal Sheraton Hotel, and similar meetings will be held Wednesday in Los Angeles and New York. Online voting also begins tomorrow.
“I would guess they’ll authorize it, but I guess we’ll see,” said another writer leaving the meeting.
“Everybody’s gotta do what they gotta do,” said another.
Asked if the strike is going to be authorized, another writer said “probably,” while another said, “Yeah, I think so. It’s pretty strong.”
“They don’t want us commenting,” said another, “there’s a press black out.”
“I think we’re going to ‘yes’ vote it,” said another writer, “it just depends on how strong.”
Guild leaders have made it clear what’s at stake. “If we don’t get that authority – if the membership does not give us a ‘yes’ vote in the strike authorization – then we are essentially telling the companies, ‘You can give us whatever you want,’” said former WGA West president Chris Keyser, a co-chair of the negotiating committee, during a recent podcast.
Members leaving tonight’s meeting appear to have answered their leaders’ call.