(A letter from WGA member, and Strike Captain George Hickenlooper)

Dear family, friends and colleagues,

As most of you know the Writer's Guild of America (of which I am a proud member) is set to go on strike at one minute after midnight tomorrow. There has been a lot of negative and false information fed to the press lately about how the average WGA member makes over 200K per year and that the guild is being unreasonable in its contract negotiations and that basically we're all a bunch of left leaning, privileged, silver-spoon fed, pinko cry babies.

The reality is NONE of this is true.
What is true is that the average Guild member makes 5K per year from his or her writing services, the average Guild member is middle class, and the average Guild member has been financially taken advantage of for the past two decades to the point of embarrassment.

The other big reality is that the future of ALL film and television is INTERNET bound, a paid advertising medium for which each and every Guild member currently has ZERO financial participation. With entertainment industry executives and studios raking in exponential profits every year and hiding much of those profits through creative accounting and fuzzy math, it is ESSENTIAL that, as members of the WGA, we stand up for what is only reasonable and just. The studios have forced us into this position through their greed and hubris. The attitude at the executive level often is that these movies and TV shows write themselves when in reality the obscene profits they are making always start with us, the writers.

The WGA has always been a strong union. We were the first to win pension and health plans which then enabled all of our brother and sister unions to win the same. What we are asking for now (a fair and reasonable share of the profits and participation in the internet) is essential to our livelihood and the survival of this union. The studios are trying to divide us and eventually it is their goal to break us wide open.

In the last decade the United States has sadly seen the strength of unions (from the UAW to the UFW) rapidly erode. In the age of globalization workers have either been outsourced or they have been more and more marginalized. The reality is that those of us who are part of the middle class are not living as well as our parents did in their youth. The American dream has become an exclusive club, openly only to those who can afford it.

As America moves from a democracy to oligarchy, it is essential that someone start taking a stand. Next to the Teamsters, the Hollywood guilds are the last viable unions left in the nation. Why? Because we cannot be outsourced to India or Mexico. Consequently, it is our duty not only to send a clear and strong message to our industry, but it is imperative that we send a clear and strong message to our country -- so that the workers around the nation can find hope when they see that this union, the WGA, will stand strong and win a contract that is right and just.

And no, we're not all left leaning pinkos. For those of you who know me, this message is coming to you from a political conservative who has finally become fed up with the culture of greed that is not only gradually polarizing our nation, but is seeing the unity of this great country slowly come apart at the seams.

I write this letter to you asking for your support of the WGA and this strike. If you are in Los Angeles, I am a strike captain who will be leading morning picket lines at the front gate at Universal Studios. If you have an hour to march with us in unity, I welcome you to stop by and say hello or honk your horn.

Thank you for taking the time to read my email. Peace to all of you.

Warmest regards,

George Hickenlooper


Anonymous said...

I wouldn't compare the WGA to the UAW or Teachers' Unions.. Last time I checked there was no "rubber room" or "jobs bank" for writers.

From what I've read, this strike is for legitimate reasons. But history has shown that unions can go overboard, just as much as management.

And for me, Red just screams Stalin's gulags and Mao's cultural revolution.

Still, you have this hippie-slapper's support.

John said...

Too bad you guys don't have your former patrons in the NKVD!