As always, the following content is brought to you by a mouthy woman who's desperate for labor peace, but not afraid of labor war. Everything below is my opinion, and not official WGA anything.

Well, the whole world knows we had a membership meeting last night that was SRO, about 3,000 writers. The leadership informed us in detail of the state of the negotiations, then told us they were unanimously recommending that we strike. The meeting was about our response to that recommendation.

And I'd like to point out, because this is an issue I see brought up in the blogosphere and the mainstream press frequently:

Some people said that leadership never intended to check back in with membership once they had the strike authorization vote. That the leadership would call a strike -- as they constitutionally can -- without discussing it with us as a membership, and in defiance of our wishes if we didn't want a strike.

So let me put this as clearly as I possibly can. Patric Verrone and the leadership did exactly what they promised all of us they would do. They came back to us, reported, made a recommendation and asked us what we wanted to do.

Verrone said more than once in the meeting that, despite the authorization, if the writers in general in the membership didn't want to strike over these issues, there wouldn't be a strike.

After being updated on the negotiations, however, it was very clear that the membership wants a fair deal, and we're prepared to do what we have to do to get it. For myself, personally -- we don't have a choice.

State of the negotiations

It can be boiled down to this: we took 9 of our 25 demands off the table in an attempt to jumpstart Nick Counter's refusal to negotiate. Young went through what we took off the table -- it was real, substantive stuff. The NegCom, regardless of what you hear in the mainstream press, has bent over backwards to be the adults in the room and avert this strike.

Counter came back with his fascinating "we've decided dvd's are really internet downloads, and you will obey" dictum that I've talked about before -- basically, a complete refusal to negotiate on internet and new media. He said that they would not negotiate further with us unless we agreed there would be no negotiation about internet. Which is the single biggest - the watershed -- issue on the table.

Translation: the AMPTP are willing to negotiate, provided we agree beforehand that there's no negotiation.

I have, of late, begun to feel like I've fallen into a Kafka short story, or possibly Cold-War era Russia.

Q & A session

Q & A took up most of the rest of the meeting, with members asking specific questions about the negotiations, the strike rules, Teamsters, etc.

I won't recap all of it -- it was over 3 hours -- other than to say, once again, the leadership was transparent and levelheaded. And frankly, so were the members. We know what we're up against. We don't want to strike, but we're not going to walk away from the most important issue of our generation, the one issue that could potentially determine if the majority of working writers can make a basic living off what they do, because the AMPTP is determined that rich isn't good enough, they have to get richer.

What now?

The leadership is meeting today to decide when the strike will be called, now that the membership has weighed in. When they've chosen the time/day, they'll announce it.

There's still time for the AMPTP to actually start bargaining. We all want them to. We want to avert this. All they have to do... is negotiate.

Later, I'll be posting on some aspects of the strike rules, and hopefully we'll be hosting lots of different posters on the site over the next days and weeks, as well as links to some video interviews.

All I can say right now, though, is this: if you don't have a contract captain, get assigned to one, or even better, become one yourself. If there is a strike, let's all do everything we can to make it as short as possible, for our own sake and for the town's -- and that means mobilizing and impacting the AMPTP in the only place they seem to have any feeling at all. Their wallets.

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