WGA Members Vote 98.4% to Approve Pattern of Demands for Upcoming Talks

The WGA announced Tuesday that 98.4% of members had voted in favor of the “pattern of demands,” a loose outline of topics for discussion in upcoming negotiations.

The vote was not unexpected, but does signal a broad consensus around issues like wages, streaming residuals and “mini-rooms.” The negotiations are set to begin on March 20, ahead of the May 1 expiration of the current contract.

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According to the guild, 5,643 members cast ballots, with 5,553 voting yes, and 90 voting no.

The union is seeking a “sea change” in writers’ compensation as the industry has shifted to streaming. Writers are also focused on pushing back against the use of smaller rooms to create TV shows.

The “pattern of demands” is a list of 14 bullet points touching on those issues, as well as standard labor negotiations topics like securing the pension and health plan. The union must still formulate actual proposals to address those subjects ahead of negotiations.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers will also be negotiating new contracts with SAG-AFTRA and the Directors Guild of America in the coming months. All sides appear to expect an unusually tough negotiation, after a period of relative labor peace since the last writers’ strike in 2007-08.

Under the union constitution, the membership must vote to approve the “pattern of demands” before negotiations can begin. The vote itself is generally a forgone conclusion.

In 2007, 96% of the WGA membership voted in favor of the pattern of demands. Then as now, the guild was focused on pay for streaming, which was then called “Internet reuse” or “new media.”

The guild noted in its memo to members that 90.7% voted in favor of the demands in 2020, with only 3,336 members voting.

The DGA negotiations are set to begin on May 10, while the SAG-AFTRA talks have not been scheduled.

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