Writers Guild of America Members Cast Ballots on Whether to End Strike

The power to put the entertainment industry back to work was in the hands of Writers Guild of America members Tuesday as they voted on whether to end their 3-month strike after a tentative contract deal was reached.

Writers Guild of America West President Patric M. Verrone was expected to hold a joint press conference to announce the results of the vote at 7 p.m. PST.

Michael Winship, president of the Writers Guild of America, East, said he was confident the vote would end the walkout as soon as Wednesday.

Writers were lined up when the doors of the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills opened for voting.

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Michael R. Perry, a writer for "Persons Unknown" and other crime dramas, said the proposed deal made him hopeful the guild and studios could be "partners in a growing pie" of Internet revenue.

"I want them to be fabulously, filthy rich. I just want my piece," Perry said.

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Not all writers were ready to call off the walkout that halted television production, idled thousands of workers and devastated the Golden Globe Awards.

"If this deal passes, it wasn't worth it," said Alfredo Barrios, co-executive producer and a writer on the TV series "Burn Notice." "If I had known three months ago, I wouldn't have voted to authorize the strike."

In New York, Warren Leight, a guild member and executive producer on "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," said the hard-fought deal deserves approval because it provides more money than studios initially offered for shows streamed on the Internet, among other gains.

Under the agreement, writers would get a maximum flat fee of about $1,200 for streamed programs in the deal's first two years and then get 2 percent of a distributor's gross in year three.

Voting started in New York before West Coast guild members began casting ballots later in the day. Results were expected late Tuesday.

Winship said members were well-informed about the tentative contract agreement with studios that was approved Sunday by the guild's board of directors.

A number of writers voiced support for the agreement during informational meetings over the weekend.

"I think it's a very informed vote. They've had a few days to think about this," Winship said before the New York voting started at a Times Square hotel. "And they've had 14 weeks on the picket line."

Member approval would restart TV production immediately and remove a boycott threat from this month's Oscars.