Entertainment/Technology Attorney, TroyGould & Contributing Editor, The Hollywood Reporter (jhandel.com)
WGA Ballots on the Way
The WGA deal reached last month is on its way to the membership for a ratification vote - ballots are in the mail. Details: The Hollywood Reporter.The WGA ballot ratification materials, which include letters from the leadership and the negotiating committee, try to put the best face on things, but they also acknowledge the reality that the WGA fought a rear-guard action. After refusing for months to set a negotiation date -- on the theory that late negotiations bring more leverage -- in the end, the WGA and studios negotiated for just three weeks, and the guild emerged with little that the actors and directors unions hadn't gotten months earlier. Another piece of the ratification materials is a letter from a WGA member who reluctantly supports the deal. He calls for inter-union unity in the future, but that goal seems idealistic. The two performers unions, SAG and AFTRA, may indeed merge -- they're working on that now -- but it would require a surprising and seismic rearrangement to achieve cooperation between the writers, directors and performers unions. Will it happen next time around? Maybe, but don't bet on it.