Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Another Vote

Like a baby stoat! Just returned from casting my yes ballot at the WGA Theater to lift the restraining order, i.e. end the strike. The place was crawling with media and the mood was excited and relieved, much like Saturday's membership meeting.

Variety's article on that meeting, by the way, may well have been their one bit of accurate reporting during the entire strike, which in the magazine proper (not the Scribe Vibe blog so much) was characterized by appallingly biased anti-Guild coverage. The membership did indeed give the WGA leadership, the Negotiating Committee, and the deal a positive response.

The deal is good/good enough, and I'll be voting yes on that too. Not perfect, but it wasn't going to be. At the meeting David Young walked through the terms point by point, noting what we got and how we got there, both the gains and the hold-your-nose concessions. Very straightforward, and I appreciated that. I believe the leadership when they say that they pushed as far as they could on the "bitter pills" without blowing up the deal.

And there are bitter pills. The change of contract expiration to May kneecaps the ability to make another strike a credible threat, although I don't think anyone's in any hurry to strike again. Reality and animation are still out in the cold, and cable TV is still underpaid compared to network. The 17-24 day window sucks. I know from my years in online how fast content relevance decays there. But the long-tail phenomenon is a real thing, which could mitigate that. Regardless, all that's not enough for me to vote down the deal thinking we can get better. Important jurisdictional gains were made, and we know the areas we'll want to improve come the next negotiation.

So, what happens next, provided the ayes carry the day? The town takes stock. John August had an apt analogy on his blog: in a small way it's like how after a disaster returning residents are allowed back to their houses to find what's still standing.

It's still not officially over, and I for one will wait to celebrate until the word comes down, but all signs point to the town heading back to work, as early as tomorrow.

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