800 WGA West members attend second membership meeting about upcoming contract negotiations

About 800 writers gathered at the Hollywood Palladium last night to go over the WGA’s agenda for its upcoming negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers for a new film and TV deal. The current contract expires on May 1. The membership meeting was the second last week — the first was attended by 500 people — with another in LA and another in New York later this month.

In invitations to the meetings, the guild’s negotiating committee told members that “we will present our proposed bargaining agenda and you will have the opportunity to share your thoughts, ask questions and hear what is at stake from your fellow members.”

As one guild member who attended the meeting put it, “We want more.” And by all accounts, members are united in the WGA’s efforts to secure higher wages, increased benefits, better benefits and more favorable working conditions.

The possibility of a writers’ strike is a concern for many in the industry, but WGA leaders are urging their members not to believe the rumors.

The next stage in the negotiation process is the issuance of the guild’s demand pattern, which is mandated, in virtually identical language, in Article IX of the Constitution – “Preparation and Approval of Demands” – of the Constitution and by -WGA West and WGA East legislation. And it can be a complicated process. Here’s how it’s detailed in the WGA West constitution:

The committee will proceed to draft a set of demands for the approval of the Board of Directors and then the pattern of such demands will be presented to the members of each guild. In cases of primary interest the board will vote on the claim first and then the other board will vote. If a majority of the Guild’s Board rejects the claims in respect of primary interest, they shall be referred back to the Negotiation Committee for further study, revision and resubmission to the Board as aforesaid.

If a majority of the Board approves the area of ​​primary interest and the vote of the Board in the second voting area is contrary to the vote of the area of ​​primary interest by a two-thirds (2/3) vote, the vote shall be counted on a cumulative basis to determine approval or disapproval of both Board claims.

If claims are rejected on such grounds, they will be referred back to the Negotiating Committee for further study, revision and resubmission to the Boards.

After approval by the Board, claims will be submitted to the guild membership in the area of ​​primary interest (ie, the geographic area in which such discussions will primarily be conducted), which will vote first, followed by other guilds. Vote. If a majority of the collective voting members of the Guild disapprove of the demands, they shall be referred back to the Negotiating Committee for further study, reconsideration and resubmission to the Board and aforesaid membership.”

After a set of demands has been approved in accordance with the procedure described above, the negotiating committee will begin negotiations with the individuals, organizations or corporations with whom contracts are sought.

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