WGA changed the wrong voting standards

by Paul William Tenny

I noticed in this comment on DHD (I do not endorse its contents) that only about 1700 people voted on the most recent amendments for voting standards in the Writers Guild. That's at best 17% of the membership, and 14% at worst, which is just ridiculous. As the comment author pointed out, what you've got right there is between 14-17% of the membership changing the voting standards for the other 86% (8,300) members which just on principle is a sad state of affairs.
Which got me thinking, people like to remind everyone that unions are democracies (usually because the union is doing something reprehensible in the true spirit of politics), but should they be? Real democracies (America, FYI, is not a democracy but a constitutional representative republic) are purely governing organizations, they aren't bodies of truly partisan advocacy like unions are.

If a union exists for a different purpose then why shouldn't it operate under slightly different rules?

I'm bringing this up because being required to vote in a real democracy as a matter of keeping your citizenship is unthinkable. But unions aren't democracies, they are pseudo-democratic organizations that exist to protect and advance the cause of a single class of people (an inherently undemocratic goal), ones that, like democracies, are not served well by a membership that doesn't vote.

Since these amendments were about voting standards -- specifically what qualifies you to vote at all in terms of your status as a working writer -- it seems reasonable to ask why these standards shouldn't be extended even further such that you lose eligibility for the union if you don't vote. Nobody can argue that only having 14% of the membership voting on anything is healthy, and a union is not a democracy in that everyone has an automatic right to be a part of it. So why not start acting like it?
in Labor


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