Return of the Writers: WGA Strikes Back

Kim Voynar at summarizes the issues:

Members of the Writers Guild of America overwhelmingly backed a strike authorization on Friday evening, with over 90% of members voting in favor of a strike authorization, according to Variety. Nearly half of WGA members voted, with 5,507 ballots cast. Although the vote comes on the heels of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which has been locking horns with the WGA in ongoing negotiations, pulling off the table the controversial "residuals revamp" proposal that would have denied residuals to writers until producers have cleared expenses, the WGA actually asked members to vote in favor of backing a strike back on October 1.

The WGA is not without controversy; Variety notes that AMPTP president Nick Counter has noted irregularities with the balloting, including allegations that the WGA had contacted members who had not yet voted with reminder letters.

Counter had said after the AMPTP pulled the revamp off the table that they now expected the WGA to back off their demands so that negotiations could move forward. Could that be less likely to happen in the wake of Friday's vote authorizing a strike? According to Variety, WGA West president Patric Verrone said after the vote that guild negotiators "have the backing of their members" and that the "studios and nets need to take a serious look at Guild proposals." The Guild is seeking changes in DVD residuals and new media handling, among other things — proposals that the AMPTP has not, up to this point, been willing to seriously consider.