12/16/2007

Congloms Fiddle While California Goes Up In Flames

The holidays are beginning. Writers are on strike. Productions are shutting down. Thousands are out of work. The talks are stalled.

For writers it doesn't feel as if the talks ever really started.

In any negotiation, it's important to see the other side's point of view, but that hasn't been very easy to do. Rollbacks of benefits. No compensation for re-use. Exclusion from future markets.

Those don't feel like starting points.

We all understand the gamesmanship that goes into negotiations. Theatrics can be expected. But reasonable people try to keep the process under control.

As they walked away from the table, the congloms slammed the door behind them, muttering darkly about unprofessionalism. But during the six weeks of the strike, the AMPTP has not yet presented a fully detailed financial proposal.

Strikes are supposed to have a sense of urgency.

Both sides understand the damage created by a work stoppage. We all know the hardship created by people losing their jobs. The impact of the strike is felt in the city and the state.

This couldn't be a worse time to put added strains on the economy of California.

In the last week, the state has issued a series of reports that project a $14 billion dollar deficit for the next year. Either taxes have to be raised or expenditures will have to be slashed 10-12%. That means less money for schools, health care, and essential public services.

There's never a good time for a strike, but the state is telling us this is a really bad time.

What's needed now is to have the negotiations restart with focus and a determination to end the strike as quickly as possible.

The chant has been heard plenty of times before--"Come back to the table"--but the sense of urgency is greater now than ever before.

3 comments:

embers said...

I feel that the Attorney General, Jerry Brown, should step forward and put more pressure on the AMPTP to return to the table, that he should look at the strike-busting techniques, and actually I'm all for independent auditing of the studio and network accounting styles.

I am very encouraged by David Letterman's production company getting out in front by working on a interim contract with the WGA. This could really be a break through in the strike: causing other production companies to want to make meaningful progress on their own, without waiting for the AMPTP.

It breaks my heart to see so many people suffering all because Nick Counter seems to think that he is the smartest guy in the room

James Newton said...

The AMPTP is comprised of competitors therefor it has no legal right to negotiate with WGA or any other Union.

According to law it is illegal for competitors to negotiate together, to even confer together. It's called collusion.

The talks need to begin but with each studio/company individualy.

Imagine if all competitors in an industry got together to set all wages and ALL labor conditions.

The economy would be ruined.

Paramount, Fox, Warner Bros., NBC, Disney, CBS, Universal, Sony, MGM...and 341 of their signatory pals all unite to set the pay scale and working conditions for writers. And then for actors. And then directors. And then for all employees in the entertainment industry.

Federal, State and International laws are ignored and violated repeatedly.

I wonder what our Congressmen are doing...

Thanks Robert J. Elisberg for bringing this up. Check out his article on

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-j-elisberg/writers-guild-strike-prim_b_75610.html

ChuckT said...

Well the AMPTP certainly has the writers by the balls. The WGA is begging, crying and wimpering for them to come back to the table (wah, wah, wah). I bet none of you thought that you'd be begging the producers to negotiate. The WGA called the strike to begin with, it's only fair that its members eat shit for a while after causing so many people to lose their jobs during the holidays.

Next up: Force Majeure.

Don't start what you can't finish.