Writers were joined on the picket line by many supporters. The honking at the Pico gate reached new decibel levels as crowds of picketers filled the sidewalk and waved their signs at the passing traffic.
The signs told the story: "WGA-DGA-SAG", "The House is Not Divided," "DGA-WGA Member," "Union Solidarity".
The appearance of so many SAG and DGA members made the point that even though the AMPTP spin machine works hard to create the impression that there is dissension between the unions and in the ranks of the WGA, the opposite is true.
Of course the strike has created tensions. How could it not?
There should be tensions when so much is at stake and so much has been sacrificed in the fight with the congloms. But our common interests outweigh that tension, and our solidarity is real.
The DGA Negotiations Committee Chair, Gil Cates made clear today the seriousness with which the DGA leadership regards the economic issues that forced the strike.
"We have spent 18 months...researching what the new models will be, what electronic sell-through is going to be, how long the DVD market will stay on its current plateau and when it will go away altogether."
The good news is the DGA and WGA will share their research. Unions must pursue the separate interests of their members, but there are times -- like now -- when collaboration protects everyone.
Today Patric Verrone announced new efforts to pressure the AMPTP to come back to the negotiations, hoping that Nicholas Counter will finally sit down and negotiate in good faith. Having walked away without ever presenting a complete and detailed economic proposal, the AMPTP has been vocal about preferring to negotiate with the DGA.
What sense does that make?
Only the DGA leadership and members of their Negotiating Committee know what the DGA wants. Does the AMPTP assume the DGA will accept the offer the congloms presented to the WGA?
Benefit rollbacks, no compensation for reuse in the digital platforms, defining rebroadcast as "promotional" so that the value of the program is diminished, offering a one-time nominal payment (the infamous $250) when an episode of a popular program like Lost appears on the network's website...
Will that sound good to the DGA?
And, importantly, do the congloms believe that if the DGA concludes negotiations that the strike will end?
The DGA will negotiate the best deal for their membership. But a settlement with the directors doesn't end the strike.
The AMPTP still has to conclude a deal with the WGA.
From the beginning of the strike, Nicholas Counter has been quoted repeatedly that he'd rather talk with the directors. Clearly he thinks the AMPTP and the DGA speak the same language. But hopefully we've learned by now: just because Nick Counter says so, doesn't make it true.
At Fox today the people who walked the picket line showed that they do speak the same language. Writers, writer-directors, directors, actors, Teamsters, SEIU members, friends, fans, and supporters from all across Los Angeles made clear their unity and support for a fair deal.
Now all we need is for the AMPTP to listen to what they are saying: come back to the table and negotiate in good faith. Make a fair deal so we can all go back to work.