Verrone: “Cautious optimism” about the new round of talks

Verrone1_2The catchphrase of the day is “cautious optimism.” That’s how WGA West president Patric Verrone characterized how he feels about today’s resumption of negotiations, in his latest message to members.

Verrone notes that there’s a news blackout. He explains that although there’s no ban on members discussing the issues, he asks that members rely only on the WGA for info about the negotiations.

He also disclosed that the weekly requirement for picketing is being dropped from 20 hours to 12 hours a week since fewer shows are in production.

Here’s the entire message — 

To My Fellow Members,

I hope you all had an opportunity to enjoy Thanksgiving weekend with family and friends.  Having spent part of that time responding to over 400 e-mails from members, I must once again state how impressed I am with the level of involvement and engagement of our membership.  It is both inspiring and invigorating for Guild leadership to feel that collective strength and let me reiterate how grateful we are for it.

As you know, tomorrow we return to the bargaining table with the AMPTP.  We do so with a cautious optimism born of the sense that our strike has had a direct impact on our employers but fully aware that, until we have achieved our goal of a good contract, our struggle will continue.

Be aware that there will be a news blackout during this bargaining period.  We agreed to this on a limited basis so that a deal could be made without “negotiating in the press.”  As such, there will be no official Guild or Negotiating Committee statements made about the content of each day’s negotiation sessions.  Although this will by no means keep writers from discussing the issues in any public or private forum, I must once again implore you not to rely on any information unless it comes from a Guild source.  It is my intention to send another member e-mail the moment the blackout is lifted or if the parties mutually agree to an update.  Thank you in advance for your patience and indulgence.

Thank you also for your continued dedication to our daily picketing schedule.  In consultation with our strike captains, and pursuant to fewer TV and film projects in production, we are reducing the minimum hours of member strike support from 20 hours to 12 hours a week, starting tomorrow.  Scheduled picketing of studios will take place from Mondays through Thursdays with Fridays reserved for meetings and other special events.  The new hours for each location are available here.

Let me conclude by restating the continued importance of picketing.  Aside from being the most visible form of business disruption for our industry, picket lines have become focal points for our Guild community.  They are a very public place where writers, our sister guild and union members, area businesses, fans, politicians, and even the general public can show support and solidarity.  This unprecedented support and solidarity no doubt provoked the resumption of negotiations tomorrow and it will ultimately lead to a successful resolution.  We’re all in this together.

Best,

Patric M. Verrone

President, WGA West

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