They didn’t get Election Day as a paid holiday in their recent contract negotiations, but the WGA West board of directors is calling on “all networks and production companies to give every member of cast and crew a paid day off on November 3rd.”
Here is the guild’s message to members:
“As writers, we get to make our voices heard on the page. On November 3rd – in the midst of a pandemic, a punishing recession, and dramatic changes to our own industry – we have a chance to make our voices heard at the ballot box too.
“We’re writing to you because many of our showrunner members have expressed a desire to make this Election Day a dedicated voting day. The Writers Guild fully supports this effort and urges all showrunners to join in this endeavor. By giving all writers and support staff a paid day off – and by encouraging them to register, and make a clear voting plan as soon as possible – you can help make the most important election of our lifetimes the most inclusive one as well.
“The sad fact is, after nearly half a century of steadily expanding voting rights, those rights are under a sustained assault. Strict voter ID laws. So-called ‘exact match’ laws. Attacks on the U.S. Post Office at a time when many are afraid to vote in person. Error-prone voter purges. A lack of safe polling sites. The list goes on and on. When you combine these hurdles with working from home – and in many cases, raising and educating kids at home too – it’s crucial that we do all we can as a Guild, and as employers and supervisors, to make sure everyone can vote safely and easily.
“Of course, many of us will have already voted by November 3rd, and will want to spend the day helping others exercise that right. Without enough poll workers, voting centers will simply be closed. And with many regular poll workers at high risk for COVID-19, others will be needed to keep voting centers open. Having Election Day off will allow lower-risk members to step in and serve as poll workers during this highly unusual election cycle.
“Voting is not a partisan issue. We all must safeguard the right together. That’s why we call on all networks and production companies to join this effort and give every member of cast and crew a paid day off on November 3rd. Whether we lay cable, or work craft services, or type furiously in a writers’ room – we all have a right to make our voices heard. Let’s make that right a reality for everyone we have the privilege of working with.”