Pay no attention to the boring labor negotiations

by Paul William Tenny

According to wire reports, there are going to be meetings this weekend where the WGA might present a deal to the membership -- the one they've been working on over the past week and supposedly have made great progress on. To clarify a little bit, this meeting was previously scheduled and was not called for any reason related to what is going on right now.

That it may be used to present a contract is coincidental, and possible, not hardly guaranteed. At the very least though, the membership should be briefed about how things are going, how much work there is left to be done, and that news will undoubtedly leak out to us shortly thereafter.
Nobody knows how the membership will react to the deal since, first of all, nobody knows what the deal will be. But beyond that, there's no telling even if we all knew exactly every detail right down to the kind of paper the proposal is printed on. There are clues and educated guesses, but that's it.

What I hear is that if this deal isn't where writers have wanted it to be on streaming and digital downloads -- closer to what they've been demanding all along rather than closer to what the DGA got -- then they are going to vote the deal down. Given the uncertainty there, I find it unlikely that the WGA leadership will agree to call off the strike before the membership votes on the contract. I've seen the rumor that the AMPTP is demanding that, and I don't believe it. It doesn't make sense for the WGA and if the deal is voted down, nobody will be able to go back to work anyway. So I wouldn't put much stock in that.

Otherwise, things are still very much up in the air. "Insiders" are telling the gossip rags like Deadline Hollywood that the CEOs are very happy with how things are going, and that they believe the strike is effectively already over. I'm buying that about as much as I'm bought into those same CEOs claiming they could hold out on the WGA literally forever, and that they were actually happy that the fall television season was ruined, so that they could reset their entire schedule.

That, just days before networks started ordering their new fall shows to full series left and right, trying to look as stable and viable as humanly possible against each other, who were now all in a very bad way.

So again, and I can't stress this enough: don't read the hype about a deal already being done. Don't expect the strike to end this weekend at the meeting, or directly after it. The WGA leadership may in fact be happy with the new deal they've got, but the membership might not be. It's ultimately up to them when this strike ends because only the membership can ratify a contract.

Relax, stop paying attention to this stuff until next week rolls around, because there just isn't going to be anything substantive until then.
in Digital Media, Labor


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