11/11/2007

Week Two Picket Changes

At Saturday's strike captains meeting, the WGA announced some changes to the picket times and locations for the next two weeks. There are only six scheduled days of picketing before a pause for Thanksgiving.

Captains should be contacting all picketers this weekend. Four studios have been removed as picket locations to focus on larger studios where production is still taking place. Shifts at most locations are now 6am to 10am and 10am to 2pm. NBC in Burbank and CBS Radford will be following their own schedules. Click the link above for complete details.

The numbers of picketers increased each day last week from 3,029 on Monday to 3,262 on Thursday, while the rally on Friday brought out over 4,000.

Guild staff: "Week Two will be a test. The AMPTP expects us to crumble this week."

Well, what do we think of that? WILL WE CRUMBLE?

Rousing cry from crowd: "THAT SEEMS DECIDEDLY UNLIKELY!"

A little wordy, but I'll take it.

We want to "crush our numbers" as they say on Wall Street. We need a huge showing to demonstrate our resolve. To that end: theme days!

MONDAY 11/12: Veterans Day Observed / Kids Day
It's a school holiday, so picketers are encouraged to bring the kids. Also, please invite veterans to join you on the line and voice their support for a fair deal. Bring American flags! Many gate captains plan to collect money for veterans assistance groups.

TUESDAY 11/13: Cast Day
SAG is coordinating with WGA to bring out show casts for Tuesday. As the chant went on Friday, "THANK YOU, SAG!"

FRIDAY 11/16: Fan Support Day
All fans of TV shows and movies are encouraged to join us on the picket lines.

MONDAY 11/19: Last day of picketing before Thanksgiving

TUESDAY 11/20: Second mass rally
No picketing at studios. Location and time of mass rally to be announced.

Reminder: If you can't picket, they need you at headquarters!

Sometime tomorrow, I will post a list of picketing "best practices" the captains compiled over the past week. (HINT: Don't yell "Scab!" the moment you spy one sneaking onto the lot. This merely informs the scab he's been sighted and cues him to throw a smoke pellet and escape in the confusion.)

18 comments:

Casey said...

I have an idea. I keep reading studios executives stating "we won't lose our houses, but the writers might if this drags on a long time." This sort of counter-productive thinly veiled threats get neither side anywhere.

However, it does raise a good point. If it does drag on, many writers may be forced to cross or lose their homes. The strike needs to continue.

The solution: a series of fundraisers should be held in LA and New York. Silent auctions- imagine Brad Pitt at Bat Mitzvah. Fundraising dinners just like politicians do. All of the money could be pooled into the WGA emergency fund for the writers to draw upon if this drags on. Right now there 2.8 mill in the fund- there needs to be more.

Anonymous said...

http://www.thefanunion.com

Nimrod said...

Check your dates in the post. Next Monday is the 19th. Tuesday is the 20th.

Kim said...

Well, you mention the Battlestar fans at Uni Studios on Friday, and it will probably happen. Word is now being spread! The fan convention is over in Burbank, actually, but I'm sure something will be coordinated to get folks over to Universal. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I say, SCREW HOLLYWOOD!!!
You people have no sense of reality.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious, what's the rationale for the picket schedule change?

James said...

Re: Casey's Comment: "Fundraising dinners just like politicians do. All of the money could be pooled into the WGA emergency fund for the writers to draw upon if this drags on. Right now there 2.8 mill in the fund- there needs to be more."

And what about the crew members on these shows who have lost their jobs and DON'T have any relief funds to draw on, who WILL lose their homes and cars the longer this will go on and who will see no financial upside regardless of the outcome of this strike?

I guess every war has collateral damage. The below-the-line workers who have worked so tirelessly on these shows season after season for less than half of the pay of these writers' average salary are the human sacrifice being offered up in this battle.

Anonymous said...

James,

I completely understand your fury. I am equally furious....at the producers! It is not the writer's fault that the producers presented them with an option of NO money. The WGA went to the bargaining table in good faith and the AMPTP offered them nothing.

Also, become more informed about the strike and the writers who are striking, please. We are not only dealing with the very small percentage of writers who make a lot of money, there is the much much larger percentage of writers who live off of residuals. THEY will lose their families, they will lose their homes. Yes, the below the line workers might lose theirs as well, but that is not the WGA's fault. They tried everything to make a deal at the meeting on Sunday including taking one of their MAJOR points off the table. The AMPTP laughed in their face.

Yes we should be mad. At the producers. If the writers take their offer of NO money for internet they'd basically be agreeing to almost nothing in the future. These writers are thinking about supporting their children in the future, taking care of their families, getting pension in their old age, none of which will be possible if they accept a rate of 0% for a medium that is fast becoming the ONLY way people view television.

It's very closed minded to think that a person should suck it up and take a stinky deal that could hurt their ability to send their children to college, to have good health care or to buy a house, in order to save someone else's children, someone else's health care, and someone else's house.

Picture it this way: Someone offers a mother a deal for her services that pays her $1 in 2007, $.50 in 2008, and 0 for 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, etc... She has a babysitter for her children. Should she accept this deal solely because if she doesn't she gets paid nothing in 2007 and then her babysitter is out of a job? Should she accept this deal knowing that she would be pissing away her children's future and making a crappy deal for 2009 and beyond? Why should she have to effectively steal food out of her children's mouths to feed someone else's children?

Also, what happens to the below the line workers when the Studios decide to cut THEIR pay. What happens when they say: " Oh well, only locations shoots in California will be paid for, the rest are only 'promotional,' you must do that work for free." What leg do they have to stand on, if the writers accepted a similar deal?

Fair is fair.

The mind boggles.

james said...

Anonymous, the mind does boggle... at your ability to oversimplify the issue and distract with specious reasoning about mothers and babysitters. The average writer makes $62,000 a year. That was stated on this very site. Below-the-line workers make significantly lower than that. I was referring to Casey's suggestion of fundraising benefits for writers, many of whom do make more than that figure, especially those who are collecting paychecks for showrunning or producing positions in addition to their writing gigs. No one said that the writers should take a bum deal.

I am in favor of the strike. I don't just blame the WGA for this turn of events; both sides are clearly to blame. What I was attempting to do was to try to draw attention to the fact that while there wouldn't be content without the writers' words, there wouldn't be any implementation or fulfillment of these words without below-the-line workers and they are being left out in the cold. Many of them are on the strike lines themselves with no opportunity of receiving any financial assistance from unions. Runaway production has already felled their financial savings, job opportunities, and retirement funds as more people compete for fewer jobs.

No one from the writers' camp has acknowledged the fact that their decision to strike--and to not return to the bargaining table during said strike--has put thousands of additional people, who have worked for them, out of work. Unlike your argument about the studios cutting their pay, it HAS already happened. The studios have told them to get out, to pack their things and go, with no severance or warning. So don't pretend to care about how they'll feel when the studios cut back on location shoots, etc. These people didn't have the option to not show up for work on Monday nor did they have an option at all about withholding services. Nor do they have any assistance now, having lost their jobs, from a union or anywhere to support them during a strike in which they had no say one way or another.

Sticking it to the studios is one thing, as right now the executives' salaries are safe, but your reduction of the below-the-line workers being out of work to a "fair is fair" statement is myopic, elitist, and incredibly selfish.

boadicea said...

James, your fury here was directed at the writers, so don't blame your readers if they think you're being one sided.

Here's a question for you-has IATSE done anything to cushion the blow for the rank and file? Where's the leadership on that-perhaps they could publicize options for people to support below the line workers without throwing shit at folks who support the writers strike.

Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I just wanted it to be known that not everyone who crosses the line are bad people (or even scabs).

I'm an intern at CBS in Television City, and quite frankly, if I want to graduate then I have to cross because I need my hours.

Keep in mind, it doesn't mean that I want to cross. I'm 100% on the side of the writers...I just need to graduate =)

Anonymous said...

I guess the BIG question is if the AMPTP throws a bone our way (in the way of giving a token deal on DVDs and Internet), will we chase it?

Everybody else has creative control over what we write but us. And that's wrong. James M. Cain and Edna Ferber had the write (yeah, I know: it's right) idea, we've allowed ourselves to be fucked up the ass so long we think it's normal...

Personally, I damn tired of it. But I also know my union is equally able to fuck me and has. Each and every time they've caved to the few dollars the AMPTP throws our way, the WGA has shown just how little it actually cares about the writer and demonstrates the almighty buck is their god.

If we're making a stand for something important (and DVD/Internet residuals are important), why not make real fight of it and take back (read overturn) that idiotic WG giveaway the 1942 agreement that allows the studios to be the author of the work we created. And while we're at it, let's do away with the French inspired concept of "auteur theory" which unofficially assigns he authorship of a film to the director rather than the writer...

Nah, the WGA leadership doesn't want to stand up for the writer, it just wants a bigger share of the pie.

signed,
Color Me Disgusted

Anonymous said...

James,

[b] "Many of whom do make more than that figure?" [/b]

I believe average is average. So if the average is 62K a year, the same amount of people make more than that amount as make less than that amount.


[b] I don't just blame the WGA for this turn of events; both sides are clearly to blame. [/b]

I think the WGA going into a negotiation on Sunday and taking a MAJOR point off of the table is a good faith attempt at a reasonable and equitable outcome. The studios' response? THEY walked out at 9:30. The Studios walked out and refused to bargain anymore. This is after they offered ZERO. That's right. The compensation they are offering is ZERO.


[b] "No one from the writers' camp has acknowledged the fact that their decision to strike--and to not return to the bargaining table during said strike--has put thousands of additional people, who have worked for them, out of work." [/b]

Again, please do your due diligence. The studios are the ones who have refused to return to the bargaining table. They are the ones who ceased negotiating. The WGA have tried to sit down with them all through last week. The studios won't talk to them. At the Fox Rally on Friday, the WGA prexy said: "we love you. Come back to the bargaining table." The studios have refused. No one from the producers camp has acknowledged that their decision to offer a fool's bargain, and effectively forcing people to strike -- has put thousands of additionap people, who have worked for them, out of work.


I feel compassion for the below the line workers. I do. But that doesn't negate the fact that what the writers are doing is right.

[b] Sticking it to the studios is one thing, as right now the executives' salaries are safe, but your reduction of the below-the-line workers being out of work to a "fair is fair" statement is myopic, elitist, and incredibly selfish. [/b]

I wasn't saying that the below the line workers being out of work was fair, I was saying that people fighting against injustice is fair.

If it's the idea of the fundraising that turns your stomach, what's to stop the below-the line workers from planning some of their own? Do they have a union? If so, then maybe you should go help them organize some funding for their workers. That would be quite productive. If they don't, well breaking the union is exactly what the studio is trying to do now isn't it? And creating problems just like the ones you are now describing.

Liz Lorang said...

I am so glad to finally see a picketing schedual somewhere on the web! I am in town from Denver, Colorado and as a hopeful future member of the WGA, I came out to support them in their cause. If anyone has any more specific information about picketing times and locations, that would be most helpful as I would love to lend my support.

Sean said...

The reality is this. If the studios get their piece of flesh from the WGA, then the DGA, and then SAG, do you honestly think they won't from the IATSE? The reality is that the producers are seeking cuts across the board from every unit and aspect of production. The fact that the WGA is up first to the gulliotine is besides the point. If they lose, EVERYONE will.

Dirtyword said...

Get your 'writer.' shirts, hats,
buttons, mugs, and more at:

dirtyword.net

Show your support for the writers!

Greg said...

Anonymous, "the same amount of people make more than that amount as make less than that amount" is the median, not the average.

For a distribution with a few people making an enormous amount and lots of people making not very much, the median is a better number than the average for giving you an idea of what's "typical" or "in the middle".

I think the WGA says that the median writer makes $20k a year.

In addition, Wikipedia says in its WGA screenwriting arbitration article, "The WGAE and WGAw both resolutely reject the auteur theory that only the director is the 'author' of a film". So you have no worries on that front; the union has already delivered what you want.

As for "authorship", if one presumes that authorship is who owns the copyright, then there doesn't seem to be a practical alternative to lodging copyright of a collaborative work with a single entity.

If you try to spread the copyright over all the collaborators, then a disgruntled or missing worker can block the release of a classic. The DVD release of WKRP in Cincinnati can serve as a warning.

steve said...

I would be there on Friday in a heartbeat if I didn't live in Indiana. Keep up the fight! Yea!