This morning, the WGA sent out the link for members to vote on three proposed constitutional amendments.
I’m voting yes on Amendments 2 and 3, which reduce the minimum number of candidates and signatures required for board elections. They’re minor changes. I doubt they will have a big impact either way.
Amendment 1 is the bigger concern. It lengthens the term of officers and board members from two years to three. The more I think about it, the less I like that idea. I’m voting no.
Longer terms are great when you have awesome leadership. Yay stability! But here’s the problem: you don’t always have great leaders.
Sometimes, you have fairly useless people. Sometimes, you have nutjobs steering us down dangerous paths.
So it’s important to give guild members the chance to convey their priorities and vote out the nutjobs when necessary. If we’re only voting on them every three years, that’s hard to do.
Here’s what Craig says on the issue:
No matter what kind of writer you are and no matter what kind of union politics you’d like to see in action, Amendment One does absolutely nothing for you other than limiting your voice and your influence over your union.
The other big problem with longer terms is getting writers to run for office in the first place.
Having served twice on the nominating committee, I’ve had to do a fair amount of arm-twisting to get qualified writers to run for the board. I guarantee longer terms will discourage strong candidates from running. As writers, we don’t know where our lives and careers will take us. Will we be running a show? Directing a movie? Committing to three years of service is too much to ask of a busy, working writer — the exact kind of writer we want on the board.
So I’m voting no on Amendment 1.
Here’s my worry: There’s a good chance this amendment will pass, because most amendments sent to the membership get approved.
After all, it already got the thumbs-up from the board. Some very smart friends of mine voted for it, and I understand their reasons and logic. In fact, if I could guarantee that only those thoughtful and dedicated board members would be serving for three years, I would wholeheartedly support the amendment.
But I can’t, so I won’t.
If you’re a WGA member, I’d urge you to vote no on Amendment 1.