WGA (West) responds to AMPTP's Accusations

The WGAW responded to the AMPTP today with the following statement:

Mr. Counter's charge is as offensive as it is untrue. To accuse the Writers Guild of America of blacklisting, when it was we who suffered the most from it in the past, is simply Mr. Counter's desperate attempt to divert attention from the fact that it was he who walked out of the negotiations, and it is he who refuses every day to return to the table. The WGA has an offer on the table and is ready and willing to meet with the AMPTP any day, anywhere.


Studio City Striking Grunt said...

Remember the Information Minister in Iraq who, early in the war, gave those hilarious press briefings on how there weren't any US tanks in Baghdad and Americans were committing suicide in the streets? That's what it's like listening to Nick Counter's briefings. He's HILARIOUS. "We're ready to make a deal as soon as the WGA is willing to come to the table..." etc.

BTW, what is this offer in the table I keep hearing about? Does that pull DVD resids off the table? Because if it does, that's a crappy offer. I thought once we started the strike that all bets were off?

Anonymous said...

As a mere viewer I must say that I am so sorry that AMPTP is spending its time spreading misleading information and trying to divide the union. It seems that it is time that would be better spent... oh I don't know, perhaps negotiating? Or is that a foreign concept to AMPTP?

Although, this AMPTP response today did at least provide me with a few laughs. What Nick? A union on strike wants its members to respect the picket lines? Oh Nick, I am so sorry that this bullying by WGA is upsetting you.

Hilarious, I swear. Perhaps you guys are doing better than I thought. This sure seems like the pathetic and desperate ploy of someone who is losing. Again though, I wish AMPTP would just bring a reasonable offer to the table. As funny as they are, I could honestly do without the amusing statements by Mr. Counter.

Captain Obvious said...

lol @ The Iraqi Information Minister...

We now present:
What If The Iraqi Information Minister Was Also The AMPTP Spokesperson?

"No, no, there is no strike."

"I swear of it."

"We told... we instructed the writing dogs to accept our generous offer in the ass, without lubrications made of premium Iraqi petrol, and they flew."

"We placed a counter-offer of half a kidney bean for Christmas dinner instead of a whole kidney bean, and they flew."

"These writing dogs are paper tiger. They are cowards. There is no strike."

Anonymous said...

when will this thing get physical? all someone has to do is beat nick counter up no? oh wait, i have to wait for the teamsters to strike for that to happen...

Captain Obvious said...

...oh and let's not forget...

"We were ready to begin negotiating, but they flew."


"For days we have tried to bring them back to the table, but the writing dogs simply wave a white flag and beg. They are cowards. Dogs. There is no strike."

Anonymous said...

How does (WGA member) Rob Long feel having his Wall Street Journal piece used on AMPTP's home-page to propagandize the studio's efforts? And now that WSJ is Murdoch-owned, does anybody take it seriously? I know that some WGA members may not support the strike, but it seems this does not help the efforts of those that would seek a reconciliation. What are you doing to help, Rob?


CAN SOMEONE ANSWER THIS QUESTION FOR ME? The WGA wants to get back to the bargaining table - but the AMPTP doesn't. What does the AMPTP want before they go back to the bargaining table? They want the strike to stop and the writers to get back to work under the pre-existing contract? Well the contract expired? So why can't AMPTP and WGA hurry up and hammer out a new contract so this strike can end? Why is it so hard? I am an assistant at an agency who is about to lose her job. I know all the disputes that are at play. I am just baffled as to why the parties can't get back into a room to try to work this out.

boadicea said...

Because they want to break the union.

Simple as that.

WriterWith8ProducedMovies said...

WHY is Nick Counter speaking through trade ads? And WHY is the WGA responding via a press release?

I have to say that I truly enjoy picketing when I'm doing so - it's empowering and you know that this is the right thing to be doing. However, I go home and see that there is absolutely NO progress made whatsoever after nine days, I do start to think to myself --- after 100 days, how sweet will our victory be? Will we get everything we wanted? NO we won't. We know this. I went through the 88 strike and the awful deal we got was a result of striking for 5 months (it's true - you can't argue against this fact).

I will dutifully keep striking, but I have to ask our guild's leadership to do more to get the AMPTP back to the bargaining table. Let's face it - if the studio employees made up a union and were on strike against us (I know this is a lame analogy), then the studio execs would be the ones throwing out the olive branches. Let's rebuild good will (enough about the infamous 11th hour Sunday meeting), and get back to the table.

I am fortunate to have had enough sucess to ride out however long this strike goes, but I want to tell my fellow writers and especially the guild's leadership - this strike going for a long time will affect the studios sure, but the longer this thing goes, it'll hurt us more. It's the truth. We can believe in the "we're doing this for the future" mantra, but the fact is - no matter what kind of deal is eventually struck, we will look back 20 years from now and say "the deal that was struck sucked!" JUST LIKE we're doing now about the last deal.


I'm Kitty! said...

GO STRIKERS!!! I'm with you!

Anonymous said...

Dear Writerwith8ProducedMovies:

I've only been in the Guild (and that only as an associate member, so my ass is about four steps below a normal guild member) only a short while. Even I know that the AMPTP isn't really interested in fair bargaining or bargaining at all for that matter.

What this impasse is all about is breaking the union. Period. What the AMPTP would like is a Hollywood sans any unions whatsoever.

They're used to the WGA bending backward to appease (witness '88) and aren't yet willing to accept the fact that this WGA isn't the WGA of all.

And I'm damn glad it isn't.

I'm damn thrilled for your success and even happier that you can ride it out for as long as it takes. I'm not so fortunate. But you know what, I'm unwilling to give in to the AMPTP an it's already costing me, but MY future is worth the sacrifice. And I'll be on the picket line every day until we win.

The AMPTP is in for the fight of its life and it's not going to be the WGA giving in this time. This time the good guys win.

Power to the writer, right on.

One Pissed Off Writer

Anonymous said...

Dear Writerwith8ProducedMovies:

I've only been in the Guild (and that only as an associate member, so my ass is about four steps below a normal guild member) only a short while. Even I know that the AMPTP isn't really interested in fair bargaining or bargaining at all for that matter.

What this impasse is all about is breaking the union. Period. What the AMPTP would like is a Hollywood sans any unions whatsoever.

They're used to the WGA bending backward to appease (witness '88) and aren't yet willing to accept the fact that this WGA isn't the WGA of old.

And I'm damn glad it isn't.

I'm damn thrilled for your success and even happier that you can ride it out for as long as it takes. I'm not so fortunate. But you know what, I'm unwilling to give in to the AMPTP an it's already costing me. But MY future is worth the sacrifice. And I'll be on the picket line every day until we win.

The AMPTP is in for the fight of its life and it's not going to be the WGA giving in this time. This time the good guys win.

Power to the writer, right on.

One Pissed Off Writer

Anonymous said...

I would ask people to avoid making personal attacks at Nick Counter. A professional attack -- it's his incompetence and inability to present an even somewhat reasonable starting point for a deal that has left the writers no choice but to strike -- is fair. But let's not make silly threats about the Teamsters physically attacking him. In the end the point is to negotiate, not keep on striking and personal attacks don't really help get us there.

TV Viewer said...

The AMPTP wants writers to stop striking before they will come back to the negotiating table. But it's not like the studios have taken down streaming videos off their websites nor taken their shows and movies off sites where they can be permanently dowloaded. And yet, the WGA leadership is still willing to come to the negotiating table. I think if they want a stoppage in the strike, the AMPTP needs to simoultaneously shut down these controversial sources of income. Or just stop making excuses and come to back to the negotiating table so a fair deal can be reached and the town can get back to work.

WriterWith8ProducedMovies said...

To the associate member of the WGA -
Your gusto is inspiring.
I had that once myself.
The reality my fellow writer, is that you can believe in striking every day until you "win" - truth is you're not going to win much.
What everyone is failing to see is that winning little now is better than winning a lot less than little after 6 months of striking - because that's what happens with strikes.
The guild leaders are doing a great job of mustering up unity among us, and it really is empowering, but the fact of the matter is, they're doing this to stay a union just as much as they're fighting for our "future". You are right - the studios want to break unions. I was an economics major and have a law degree as well (before wising up and becoming a writer), and the undeniable truth here is that with every day that the strike goes longer, the union gets chipped away a bit. the studios know this - that's why they are sitting back and refusing to get back to the table.

We can talk about how the studios have to answer to wall street and shareholders and what not, but all these CEOs have to do is go to their meetings and tell whoever that profits from film and tv dipped in the first quarter because of the strike, but filmed entertainment makes up only a PART of the overall conglomerate, so quarter dips in film and tv are blows that the congloms can take for a really long time.

Someone's going to respond to my post and say it's all BS, but this info is true. I'm a realist. I put my idealism into the scripts I write, because we can escape our realities when we watch movies. However in real life, we have to deal with the truth, and this is sadly the brutal truth.

With hopes of a deal being struck...

Dorkman said...

What about the other assertions on the AMPTP page? The "Setting the Record Straight"?

The WGA says that it is not CURRENTLY getting paid for internet permanent downloads. AMPTP says that they are.

My understanding was that the offer was 0.3%, same as DVD, but that these residuals were not part of the 2004 contract (hence the writers are not and have not been paid for internet downloads).

I'm not saying that I believe the AMPTP, but I know some people who do. I don't want to hurt the WGA's case by arguing out of ignorance. What's the reality here?

Fan of Scripted TV said...

I just went to the AMPTP's website to see what they were saying...and wow, they really have no problem lying out of their asses. I feel like I need a shower.

I am but one of "the public", but as I see it the WGA has far more public support and credibility. You guys have a public face, pictures of real people, individual writers sharing their experiences. I'm not even sure if anyone in the AMPTP even human. They could be Androids Making Puppets Talk Poop for all I know.

Dorkman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dorkman said...

Also, if it's not blacklisting, then what IS the Strike Rules Compliance Committee?

This very blog has posted (or linked to) a couple of cautionary tales about how scabs have been blacklisted out of careers for breaking the WGA picket lines.

Come on WGA. I support what you fight for, but call a spade a spade.

Anonymous said...


The WGA wants a deal, the AMPTP will not neg. What do you suggest?

My understanding is that the guild, frankly, fucked up in 88 by accepting a crappy deal b/c showrunners splintered. And now we know.

Are we going to make the same mistake? I think, if we do, it's the end of this union b/c they will know they can break us and come after a little more each time.

By the way, what the hell is up with basic min applied to the newly defined low budget category of 40 million and under. That is def a ROLL BACK.

6 months striking would suck, but you don't go to war and say "yeah, but only for two weeks, cause my feet hurt." You go to war to win. Call me idealistic, but that's what I'm in for.

If it takes 6 months to not get screwed, I'll do it. I hope you will too.

Everything that we benefit from the guild - healthcare, MBA, pension - were b/c writers fought.

Anonymous said...

There is absolutely no reason to go to war.

SAD said...

Some writers will hurt financially. Production people will lose jobs and have an awful holiday season. Assistants are getting shitcanned at agencies and production companies. LA businesses are affected.


Tony Bero said...

Hey, I'm just a regular guy who wanted to let you know that I support you writers. Keep the faith. One only has to look at the home page of every network to see how they're trying to screw you over. Stand tall, stand proud & stand firm, knowing that the fans are out there supporting YOU.

David Grenier said...

writerWith8 -

I've probably walked more picket lines than almost anyone who comes here, and when strikes fail its precisely because people like you talk them down as soon as their feet start to hurt. "We're going to lose anyway, so lets just give in." The bosses - ALL bosses, not just the AMPTP - count on that. This is why they refuse to negotiate. They figure you'll be out for two weeks and then people will start scabbing. They figure they can turn public opinion against you and you'll get demoralized and give up.

I've also seen times where workers have won huge wage increases and benefit provisions even in the face of bosses pleading bankruptcy. I've also seen workers win job security provisions when bosses were trying to play the "subcontractor game" to break the union. I've seen workers win full-time jobs when their bosses were classifying everyone as part time.

I've seen people win big. I've seen it with my own eyes.

Stand strong and you'll win. Convince yourself from the start that you're already defeated, and you'll lose.

And no matter how much you give them, they will take more.

Anonymous said...

Y'all know what Gandhi said about what you have to go through before you win. Sounds like you're in some ghastly space between stages 2 and 3. But in the end, you do win.

Captain Obvious said...

Or as David Grenier's spin on the Art of War quote is trying to say:

"The victorious warrior wins first, and then goes to war; the defeated warrior goes to war first, and then seeks to win."

Mid-western writer, who wishes to one day be part of WGA said...

Question...and since this is the only place I've found where I can send comments (atleast the producers have an e-mail address to a PR guy for positive/negative comments) I'll ask it here:

With all of the writers so busy screaming bloody murder at the producers...shouldn't they have the time to say "Sorry" to the fans?

All I have heard from the writers is, "We will shut down Hollywood! We will get what we deserve!" And I agree with that. You guys deserve to be paid for your hard work. There is no argument there.

But I am still waiting for a writer to stand up and tell the public, "We are sorry that our feud has ruined this TV season. We are sorry that shows like Scrubs will never get their season finale. That shows like LOST and 24 will leave fans waiting another year. That shows like HEROES and The Office will be cut off at the knees. We're sorry that you have to suffer because of this strike."

Writers...writers are artists. I am one myself. I am trying to get a novel published. I am working as a grocery clerk just to pay bills as I dream of one day maybe...just maybe...joining your ranks, becoming a member of WGA. It’s been a dream of mine.

But I am shocked that not one writer has said they are sorry. Infact...they seem almost happy that their artistic work is being destroyed. Greg Daniels blasted Greg Garcia for wondering why his show should suck just because he supports the writers. Daniels bragged about how he had shut down The Office, never considering every single fan that will now be left wondering what happened next.

I love the few fans I have. Every time I disappoint them, I beg for forgiveness. Look at Tim Krieg. He apologized for Heroes Volume 2 not being on the mark. But no one has apologized for there being no Volume 3.

It has left me wondering...if I really want to be a writer. If my dream of being part of your group is a lie. Because I could never abandon my fans as many of you seemingly have without a single "Sorry". Yes...I would strike. I would strike with my last dying breath.

But I would remember the people that matter...remember that at the end of the day...without the fans buying the DVDs and watching the Internet...it doesn't matter how much I make off of it?

How long will it take before a writer says their sorry?

And how long will it take those that don't to realize that many fans won't be waiting with open arms until they do?

If you are truly the men and women that I think you are...the artists that I, as someone that dreams of being like you, and every other fan...you will work just as hard at asking for the public to wait and give forgiveness as you do picket.

I hold on to only little hope that this message will do anything. But still...I must say it.

PLease...just think about it as you hold up your signs. Think about every fan that watched you demand what you deserve...wondering when they will get what they deserve- An apology.

-From a mid-west writer, dreaming of tomorrow

Anonymous said...


Oh, I understand your jadedness. In fact, it's easy to look at the past record of the WGA (or even other unions for that matter) and conclude that in strike history little is gained.

But this may well be a new era.

Personally I think the WGA leadership wanted a strike. I think they looked at our past history with the AMPTP and said to themselves that it was time to make a stand. A line in the sand, so to speak, was drawn and the battle began. Yes, there'll be casualties. Some writers will cave and scab, others will leave the industry all together. Still more though will stick it out and see this strike to the end - perhaps the bitter end - and victory (by whatever term you describe it) will be had.

Your point about the studios being owned (and thus able to handle periods of lost income such as this) by giant conglomerates is valid.


It's equally true that those same corporations could decide none of this is worth the trouble - especially considering that the entertainment dollar is spread so thin and could be spent elsewhere in hard economic times (as we find ourselves in now) such as we're in currently - and they may abandon ownership of Hollywood studios. Inflation and a near-depression economic era could force companies to divest themselves of difficult sub-businesses, it's happened before and is likely to happen again.

The Hollywood Industry fortunes rise and fall with the times, and that could work to the WGA's advantage or against them, only time will tell.

But, until we find out, I'm convinced that this strike is our best shot at fairness and an equitable contract. The reality is we're not asking for much, even less than what we deserve.

And I'm willing to wait it out, walking the line until I'm told to go home.

Still a Pissed Off Writer, yet remaining Hopeful

David Grenier said...

Actually, I prefer the words of a WGA member I'm too lazy to look up now:

"Everybody wan' go heaven. Nobody wan' DEAD!"

Captain Obvious said...

to: midwestern writer
from: another midwestern writer

p.s. btw lovin the quote Mr. Grenier

I think, Midwestern writer, the reason you haven't heard anyone say they're sorry is because they're feeling that pain just as intensely if not more than the fans do. These people are the creators of story. They are in anguish to not be creating their magic for you.

Imagination is a commodity. Just look at GE's own trademark. Just look at yourself in all of this, GE, and take your friends with you!

We are writers; the tone of this blog often reflects the fact.

Creative souls that want to make magic happen for some people, somewhere, sometime, forever...

This is anguish, but it's necessary. If you think about it this vaguely resembles the struggles against taxation that brought the American Revolution to bear. It's just an obvious flash point and it has to happen if the studios aren't willing to budge on logical issues of the current contract at the bargaining table.

I'm anguished too. I have a fresh screenplay rotting on the shelf. It has timely comedy that would be ideal to see on the screen two years from now. This delay will make it ever so slightly less entertaining. I apologize to the fans that don't exist yet for this delay, but I'm hurting just as much. This is why I think you've been unable to find many apologies from writers to the fans, Midwestern writer...

toriaweber said...

It seems to me the AMPTP is just restating what happens to a union scab, but using the word “blacklist” because of the negative history.

Yes, according to the dictionary if you make a list of people who are to be punished, you are creating a blacklist. But the WGA isn’t blacklisting people because of their political views like the 1950’s. They are calling a scab a scab. That is how unions work – not just the WGA.

Wherever you see the AMPTP use the work blacklist, replace it with scablist. Writers and supporters haven’t hidden the fact that no one likes a scab. Actually, it was posted right on this site.

I fully support the WGA, but I really hope negotiations get going soon.

I posted this way too late. No one is going to read it. I could say the word Poop and no one would know.


Captain Obvious said...

I know you said Poop...

Anonymous said...

Maybe the AMPTP Spokesperson was formerly employed as the Iraqi Information Minister?
To writers: "There are no profits in New Media. :-(("
To shareholders: "We're raking in billions! :-D

To writers: "We're not going to meet you at the negotion table. >:-|"
To public: "WGA are not going to meet us at the negotion table. :-(("

To recently-fired employees: "Sorry we had to do this but no writers mean no profits coming in for us to pay you. :-(("
To shareholders: "Don't worry about your shares in our company because we are still generating profits from DVD sales and new media. :-))"

I humbly suggest a new smiley in honor of AMPTP )-:-) i.e. two-faced smiley

none said...

While I do hope the writers get what they deserve, I must say, that my friends and I are bigger fans of reality television. I like the "Battle of the Choirs" show that is on right and "the Duel" and, in a few weeks, "American Idol" will be starting, which is my favorite show. And I would say that the ratings for reality TV show that alot of Americans really like it. Again, while I do hope the writers get a fair deal, I'm just not sure there is quite the damand for scripted shows as there has been in the past. And maybe it is all about supply and demand. Maybe the writers would do themselves a favor if they came up with more ideas for reality shows.