Members asked to endorse board's agenda

The 8,000 members of the Writers Guild of America West will be asked to vote this month in a referendum endorsing the board of directors’ strategic goals over the next two years.

“A union is only as strong as the level of participation and support it receives from its membership,” WGAW president Daniel Petrie Jr. said. “We are seeking not just support, but a sweeping mandate from writers that will be heard across our industry.”

Petrie said the union has “come through a period of great turmoil and debate,” but that it had been “strengthened by that struggle.”

The guild’s board of directors made the decision to hold the referendum during a board meeting Monday. Ballots will be mailed July 15. Deadline for return of ballots is July 28.

Among other matters, members will be asked to support the following goals:

- Improving residuals, primarily foreign and basic cable residuals for free-TV product;

- making meaningful advances in writers’ creative rights and professional status;

- combating the problems of free rewrites and late payments through new enforcement programs that would not require a writer to contact the guild for help;

- ensuring that the guild’s staff serves as advocates and representatives of writers in a customer-friendly service organization;

- continuing the guild’s legislative agenda for writers’ economic and creative rights and expanding the WGAW’s efforts to publicize the primacy of writers in the film, television and new media fields; and

- strengthening the guild’s alliances in the U.S. and overseas with other groups of artists, agents and legal representatives.

A positive vote from members would not be legally binding on the board of directors, said WGAW spokeswoman Cheryl Rhoden, “but I don’t know of any board that would not comply with a strong vote of the membership.”

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