Oscar-winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler released this statement in the wake of IATSE president Tom Short's letter to Patric Verrone, president of the WGA. Wexler is a legend, and when he evaluates the state of our unions, he does so with authority. Without minimizing the difficult decisions that everyone faces in a strike, we found this note stirring and wanted to share it. -JA
I walked the WGA picket line along with 6000 film workers demonstrating in front of Fox Studios.
The spirit I saw in that demonstration is exciting to me, it gives me hope. These strikers are resisting further concessions, concessions which compromise all our futures.
I caught the eye of a couple of grips and electricians driving through the line. Although I understand why our guys go through the line, it saddens me.
Can it be because I am of a different generation? One IA official told me I should “get in touch with the way things are.”
Union people used to say: “Together we bargain, divided we beg.”
Employers speak with one voice of corporate solidarity. They represent major international corporations, of which entertainment is but one VERY profitable branch.
They count on this WGA strike-lockout to break what little solidarity exists between our guilds and unions.
Our Local President still signs letters “in solidarity.” But I ask, solidarity with whom? When we are told not to support our union brothers and sisters in this instance, what can we expect from them when we eventually need support ourselves?
It is in our practical interest to speak and act in solidarity with all union efforts.
I urge IA members to join the WGA picket line. SAG is well represented there.
SCAB used to be a dirty word.
It still is for me.
-- Haskell Wexler