11/14/2007

WGA Thanks American Public for Strike Support

(This just in from the WGA... I've heard similar sentiment from friends and family all over the nation. The temperature I'm reading -- the whole country is fed up with corporate conglomerates caring only about the bottom line, and not about the welfare of their workers.)

Los Angeles – Multiple new polls show Americans overwhelmingly support the members of the Writers Guild of America in their 10-day-old strike against the media corporations. According to Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business Management, a nationwide study shows that a mere four percent of the public favor the conglomerates, while 63 percent side with striking writers. The remaining 33 percent say they are unsure.

Another poll conducted in the Los Angeles metropolitan area by SurveyUSA found that 69 percent of adults familiar with the strike support the writers, while only eight percent take the studios’ side. Twenty-two percent said they had no opinion.

“Public sentiment plus the economic disruption that the strike has caused can serve as powerful leverage and bodes well for writers in ongoing negotiations,” said David Smith, a labor economist at Pepperdine.

Patric M. Verrone, president of the Writers Guild of America, West, heralded the results: “We’re gratified by this tremendous show of nationwide support. These polls prove that the public understands what is at stake here. Our fight represents the fight of all American workers for a fair deal.”

Prof. Edward Lawler, a labor relations expert at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, said the poll supports the idea that new technology is a challenge to all workers. “The WGA is a workforce grappling with 21st century issues in an industry, unlike America’s autoworkers, that is not in trouble.”

The Pepperdine poll also revealed that when asked about the prospect of reruns replacing new shows because of the strike, 42 percent said they would read more.

Jon Lafayette, a writer for TVWeek, sees trouble ahead for the networks: “They’re wondering if viewers who leave network TV because their favorite programs are unavailable due to the strike will come back when a settlement is reached.”

Steve Lanzano, the COO for advertising agency MPG, agrees in an article in TVWeek: “If the networks don’t stop the erosion, or if they hesitate in providing make-goods, advertisers will find other ways of reaching people. The networks could significantly and permanently hurt their business.”

On hearing about the survey results, WGA member Mark Israel said from the picket line: “People are bringing us homemade tuna sandwiches one day, egg salad sandwiches the next, because they understand this is really a matter of survival. When cars pass by, we’re getting thousands of honks of support. I can’t express how much it means to us, spending so many hours walking in circles, beneath the tinted windows of businesses that won’t deal with us fairly, to receive this kind of support from the public.”

The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) represents writers in the motion picture, broadcast, cable, and new media industries in both entertainment and news. For more information, please visit: www.wga.org.

33 comments:

Martini said...

If you writers want to get paid more residuals for shows that are successful, than you should take a pay cut for shows that suck and lose money for production companies and producers. That would only be fair and maybe there would be less crap TV and movies!

curious said...

I wonder where IATSE's membership fits in. Are they among the 8% that support the studios? Somehow I doubt it. Too bad their so-called leader Mr. Short is ready to sell them down the river for some public pissing contest. Showing divisions among unions is not going to shorten the strike. Luckily the American public understands this. I bet the IATSE membership does too, even if the IATSE leadership doesn't.

Frank Uslan Charlie Kartler said...

you're welcome

Frank Uslan Charlie Kartler said...

Besides. I don't mind the re-runs.

And I'm pretty sure there is an all-new episode of the news on tonight that I might check out.

amanda said...

I need to forward this to my mom. She's very upset about 'how unkind the press is being. They're saying such awful things.'

Captain Obvious said...

martini that *might* work if it wasn't for all the creative means the studios can concoct to make even the most successful show appear to be a financial flop on the books...

Jerad said...

Captain Obvious...

Are you trying to claim that the Lord of the Rings trilogy actually made money? Pshaw!

Patrick Meighan said...

"If you writers want to get paid more residuals for shows that are successful, than you should take a pay cut for shows that suck and lose money for production companies and producers."

Thing is, martini, the studios claim that *every* show loses money for the production companies and producers.

Fox still claims that "The Simpsons" is a money-loser!

The studios are famous for lying about production profitability, and we writers would be fools to believe that they're gonna magically change their lying ways any time soon. And our mamas didn't raise fools.

In any event, we writers *aren't* currently asking to get paid "more residuals for shows that are successful." What we're asking for amounts to roughly the *same* level of residual income as we're currently receiving. It's just that, given the fact that broadcast re-runs and syndications are going the way of the dodo, to be replaced by internet re-use of televised content, we writers will need to receive our residuals from those internet sources.

Again, we're not asking for more, more, more. We're asking for same, same, same. But the studios are offering less, less, less. Actually, in most cases, they're offerring zero, zero, zero.

Got it?

Patrick Meighan
Culver City, CA

Anonymous said...

The WGA strike is being handled pathetically.
You need to understand the difference between a Protest and a Picket.
Half the times I enter lots and there aren't any strikers at the gates (no one was at Sunset Gower this morning).
A strike is a military action, no one should cross a picket without fear, you need to understand that.
Last week when you basically shut down Fox, I thought you got it, but sadly I guess you didn't.
You need to do that to a different studio EVERY DAY.
You need to have a message of the day.
When you shut down a lot, the media will show up, and every one who gets in front of a camera, or speaks to a reporter MUST REPEAT that message.
For example, no one knows that the studios are not negotiating, I didn't and I'm married to a WGA member.
You need to do publicity stunts, like booking a conference room at a hotel, invite the media, show them the empty chairs of the studio negotiators.

You people are supposed to be the most media savvy folks in the world, but you are definitely losing this battle, and in 2 or 3 more weeks you will have lost this war.
This is what Tom Short was saying.
Your losing this fight and if you don't change tactics, when you lose its going to screw all the Unions.

lawrence said...

trust me that Thomas Short doesn't speak for its membership. That man, thug, mobster has been in the back pocket of the studios for as longs as he's been in office. I am a 10 year member of IATSE and a big supporter of this strike. Your fight is our fight.
Thomas Short's letter is just one more example of him trying to gain the favor of the studios and once again he proves to be on the wrong side of the issues. Keep up the fight. You have a ton of IATSE support, trust in that.

Anonymous said...

Magnum PI is a money loser for Universal. Saw the "paperwork" drawn up of the "standard studio accounting procedures" myself.

Martini, you aren't worth the effort to respond.

The Million Dollar Mystery Man said...

how curious are YOU?

http://milliondollarmystery.blogspot.com

Michael Raysses said...

WGA writers aren't hurting! Remember in 2000 they wouldn't even support the leaders of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the AFL-CIO when they striked by 8,500 janitors in Los Angeles County, asking for terms that are far short of the workers' demands for living wages?

Michael Raysses

Lucas Everett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lucas Everett said...

I've been in Hollywood for the last few days on vacation and have visited a few studios. I've noticed at each one all of the drivers honking as they pass by. I even heard a metro bus honk in support!

I am doing my best to educate friends as to the reason the strike is happening. I am from Tennessee and everyone I've talked to is mostly uneducated on the matter.

Even though your cause is just, many people may not support you because they don't understand anything except their shows are ending early or won't be airing at all, like 24.

Kakyou said...

I support the writer's strike.

Not just because I think that writers deserve more money. Writing is a pretty crappy job and much of the greatest works in history have been written while the author was starving to death or locked in some prison or some such nightmare. Torturing writers actually seems to make for better art, so I can live with that.

No, I support the strike because media companies just plain suck. They are awful, terrible groups filled with horrible human beings who should be recycled into some more useful material like seat cushions for football bleachers or flyswatters. Media executives should be cut into tiny pieces and their offspring shunned my society for generations.
I do not think I am exaggerating here. They are worse than #@% Yankee fans!

They refuse to discuss residuals for so-called "new media". In other words, yes we make money off of advertisements that we force people who watch our programming over the internet, but you can't have any because the whole internet is just so new and strange that we don't understand how it all works! It's like a bunch of tubes or something right? Heck, it might just be some fad and in a couple of years people will go back to the good ol fashioned wireless like my granpappy *those were the days*.

So their excuse for not discussing this is that they don't understand how to make money off of it. Meanwhile they continue to track down anyone who shares media and threaten to take away their milkmoney or medicare or whatever hardened criminals have these days. So they don't "understand" the internet, can't think of how to make money using it, and abhore people using it to use it for free entertainment.

Can someone just put these guys out of their misery? I mean they must have a horrible life scared of all these modern contrivances like airplanes, electric lights, and the wheel.

I support the strike because I hope that some television starved fans will go all zombie on the networks and snack on their lower intestines. I support it just because I don't like waking up in a world with people so dense that they are threatening to pull down the moon by their own personal gravitational pull. You should support it too. cause if you don't the zombies will get you too.

Anonymous said...

From Variety:
In response to Short's letter, Verrone said: "Our fight should be your fight," and noted that "for every four cents writers receive in theatrical residuals, directors receive four cents, actors receive 12 cents and the members of your union receive 20 cents in contributions to their health fund."

Kai Tave said...

If you writers want to get paid more residuals for shows that are successful, than you should take a pay cut for shows that suck and lose money for production companies and producers. That would only be fair and maybe there would be less crap TV and movies!

While I understand that you aren't interested in actual discourse so much as the online equivalent of relieving yourself on a nearby wall, I'm going to respond to this anyway since you're far from the first bright soul to boldly raise such a challenging point that stands to radically do...something. Fuck it. Anyway.

Writers do actually take a paycut on shows that "suck" where "suck" is defined as a state of supoptimal revinue intake and not "I don't like this show because the lead actor looks funny." Namely, as a show with positive suck-value makes less and less money for its broadcasting company, the show is generally shitcanned to make way for something that doesn't suck, or at least that has less of a suck-value attached to it. When shows get cancelled, they don't get shown. When shows don't get shown, writers don't get residuals, i.e. they take a paycut.

In fact, it's almost as if everything you suggest in your post actually already occurs, but you're too much of a gibbering twatmonkey to use what few braincells Your Higher Power Here decided to give you to actually think the situation through, instead deciding to waste their meagre power on what can only be described as the unfortunate result of someone who is in no form or fashion clever trying to appear clever and failing utterly.

And once again, even though you're such a craven douchenozzle that you probably aren't reading this (you puling fucksack), I will reiterate a very important point. I'd ask you to pay attention, but I'm afraid such efforts would be wasted since the word "attention" has three syllables in it, and what the fuck am I even going on for, anyway? You stopped reading after the first sentence, didn't you?

Writers are not asking for a pay raise. That concept is so very, vitally fucking important, I'm going to copy-and-paste it into its own stand-alone paragraph so everyone can marvel at the profound wisdom contained therein.

Writers are not asking for a pay raise.

See? Does the profundity not wash over you like the waves of the ocean? Are you not humbled by the stark majesty of such a bold statement? Of course you aren't! Because you're an idiot.

Writers are asking for something that will, in the short term, act as a pay raise, yes. In the long term, what they will be getting out of it is a rate of pay that is roughly the same as what they get now.

How can this be, you ask? Well, not you you. You scarpered off ages ago. But the hypothetical you, one less stupid, might ask that question. And it's a fair question, too! How can it be that gaining residuals for online content won't end up raising writer salaries forever?

Because broadcast TV is on the way out, and it's about fucking time anyway. Ask around, and while no two people will agree on an exact time, the general consensus is that TV as we know it is a dying form of media. DVDs are still going strong, and will probably go strong for a bit longer than TV, but eventually even purchasable hardcopy media is going to fall further and further by the wayside in favor of online media, either purchased high-definition downloads or streaming media services.

And when that happens, and it is a "when" instead of an "if", all those residuals that writers used to make on broadcast TV episodes and DVD sales will go the same place that your intellect apparently hied off to; the toilet.

Furthermore, if television networks are allowed to define all online media as "promotional", and therefore worthless, and therefore not worthy of pay, then that will set an unpleasant precident that will continue for the rest of fucking ever, because if you think a corporation will give up the ability to legally use someone's work without paying them for it, then you're an even bigger moron than I suspect you already are, which would be a pretty amazing feat seeing as how my impression of you is already fairly fucking low.

And if you think that writers being told that they're free to right all they want as long as they don't expect anything silly like fair compensation along the way will, using some fucked-up fairyworld logic, result in a higher quality of televisual media then you really are as thick as a whale, which is doing a great disservice to whales since they produce useful things like songs and blubber while all you manage to produce is the textual equivalent of abject failure.

English Dave said...

Kai - brilliant!

Anonymous said...

It's great to know that the public are behind you, but be careful about relying too much on the boost of that support. Yes, the public are supportive now. But what happens when they turn on their TVs and find a rerun instead of the next episode of Heroes, Lost or House? People are selfish, and when they have nothing to watch but reruns and reality shows some people are going to turn against the WGA.

Currently, people are cheering on the strikers. Why wouldn't they? The strike isn't hurting them, and a lot of working people have a respect for unions and a disdain for big business built in from an early age. When the strike starts affecting them personally, levels of support will go down.

It may not be right, or fair, but it's how some human beings will react. The longer this goes on, the more the public will get tired and reach the point where they just want their shows back - and some people won't care how that happens.

Annie said...

I'm a member of that "general public," and I can tell you that I'm not so terminally stupid as to turn my back on my principles just because House goes into reruns.

David Grenier said...

This is awesome. I've been involved in the labor movement for a decade or so now, and I've never seen this level of public support for a strike (maybe UPS in the 90s, but I can't remember).

I just sincerely, sincerely, sincerely hope that this strike awakens both the writers and their fans to the larger labor movement. I hope the WGA will strongly back the other entertainment industry unions in their negotiations. I hope the WGA will back the longshore workers, healthcare workers, hotel workers, and service workers in their struggles. I hope if the ILWU has to go on strike, we WON'T be seeing anti-union jokes on late-night TV shows and we WILL be seeing red shirted WGA members on their picket lines.

Anonymous said...

I think we as writers need to make a better case for this fight to the American public. We need to show the average Joe that this isn't about rich writers clamoring for more, more, more. It's about all of us demanding ownership in the American dream.

Americans are tired of toeing the company line, especially in light of the Iraq debacle, numerous corporate scandals, politcal corruption, and the financial mismanagement of the world's last superpower.

Using viral video, blogs, and social networking sights like Myspace and Facebook, I believe we could employ an effective, targetted boycott of the AMPTP's corporate parents.

A company like General Electric could bring considerable pressure to other AMPTP members to return to the negotiating table if it believed its revenue would take a serious hit during the Christmas shopping season.

People want a cause. They're willing to sacrifice if they believe the cause is just. We just have to make them see that our cause is their cause. Today we're on the front lines. Tomorrow it could be them.

WGA Member

Martini said...

Wow Kai Tave - I see why you are for the strike. You probably need all the residuals you can get because you are a sanctimonious jerk and probably never get work due to everyone thinking you are an a-hole.

There is no need to lambaste me with names like "gibbering twatmonkey" and "craven douchenozzle" (your genius with the written word is astounding). If you wanted to educate me on why you believe the strike is necessary than you have failed miserably because now I hope you never work again and have to get a job as a craft services guy. Oh wait, they are out of a job too because of the writers strike - but I guess the fact that they can't pay their rent doesn't matter to the writers does it?

Basically the WGA walked out during an employer/employee negotiation - who does that? In any other workplace if your boss gave you a raise you disagree with you would negotiate for more pay - you wouldn't just walk out immediately (which is what the WGA did).

I do agree writers should be paid residuals for new media - but you want to reap the benefits when there are profits, but be able to walk away with your paycheck for failures - studios/producers don't get that luxury. Besides, if you don't like it you could always get yourself a steady job like most people in the world - no one is forcing you to be a "writer" (with you I use that term loosely).

Well, I'm off to ask my boss for a 200% raise - wish me luck!

Byron said...

Good luck, striking writers!

Anonymous said...

I vote for Kai over the martini twatmonkey guy. Kai was funnier and had better points, while martini twatmonkey guy sputtered and failed to impress. Eat sh!t and die, martini twatmonkey guy. Go peddle your toadie suckupitness elsewhere.

Hurmoth said...

Good luck writers!!! Zero cents makes zero sense!

vivaque said...

Hey martini, I think it's time you had that martini.

Random said...

Hey, this comment is for "United Hollywood" or whoever is can post on the blog. I couldn't figure out any other way to contact the owner of this blog.

I wanted to let you know I created a logo I thought people would like for the strike, I know it not anything official, but thought people on the blog might be interested in seeing it.

I posted it onto a t-shirt on my zazzle.com account. Here's a link.

http://www.zazzle.com/rforrandom/

Thanks,
Random Vaughn

Captain Obvious said...

Don't mind martini, he's convinced the writers are:

(a) Responsible for the strike or the failure of negotiations.

(b) Asking for a 200% raise.

(c) Asking for a "raise" at all.

Dana said...

honestly, I'm not usually one for vulgarity or name calling....but Martini = You're a pus-filled sore on the unwiped ass of human endeavor, and in serious need of popping.

Gabrielle said...

Was there ever any doubt? Writes are the backbone of the shows. I'm fairly certain Sarah Michelle Gellar didn't come up with "wiggins" or other lines that have made it into daily speech, and I'm damn sure that I'll wait until you all get exactly the money that you deserve for all of the amazing ideas you come up with!

Gato said...

i support the writers, you have to win. because we need you for the great stories,
from mexico