12/16/2007

Friday's Announcement: Guild Will Bargain Individually with Companies

For those of you who missed this news, here is the announcement from Friday about bargaining with individual companies. Since the AMPTP has so many competing agendas and can't reach consensus, perhaps its individual members will consider their own self-interest and negotiate their own deals.

A Message to the WGA Membership from its Negotiating Committee

As you know, the AMPTP is currently unwilling to bargain with us. The internal dynamics of the AMPTP make it difficult for the conglomerates to reach consensus and negotiate with us on a give and take basis. We believe this multi-employer structure inhibits individual companies from pursuing their self-interest in negotiations. We nonetheless continue to hope that the AMPTP will return in good faith to negotiate a fair contract with writers, as two television seasons and numerous feature projects are currently at great risk.

We want to do everything in our power to move negotiations forward and end this devastating strike. We have therefore decided to reach out to major AMPTP companies and begin to negotiate with them individually.


As you may know, bargaining on a multi-employer basis through the AMPTP is an option for the WGA, not a legal requirement. Each signatory employer is required to bargain with us individually if we make a legal demand that it do so.

We will make this demand on Monday December 17th and hope that each company responds promptly, in accordance with the law.

In the meantime, we urge you to support us and our negotiations team and leadership during these difficult times. We look forward to a making a fair deal that will resolve this strike, protect our future and put us all back to work, for the good of the industry and all of its employees.

Signed,

John F. Bowman, Chair
John Auerbach
Neal Baer
Marc Cherry
Bill Condon
Carlton Cuse
Stephen Gaghan
Terry George
David A. Goodman
Carl Gottlieb
Susannah Grant
Carol Mendelsohn
Marc Norman
Shawn Ryan
Melissa Salmons
Robin Schiff
Ed Solomon

66 comments:

m.o.i.@ warrior ant press said...

I don't know this to anwer to this which is why I'm asking. Is that a good thing for WGA to be negiotiating separately? I understand that talks have stalled and this is an attempt to bring folks back to the table and anytime you can move the discussions along then you have a chance for a settlement, but from a labor relations standpoint, wouldn't it make more sense to force them to bargain with them as a unit? Maybe the idea is that if you can get one domino to fall, then the others will follow?

jimmy said...

Can anyone give us the legal precendents that support the wga's position? it is saying that the companies must legally bargain individually, but the amptp is dismissing this tactic.

which is true?

Yes I AM Making Fun of You said...

Explain this please?

Explain how it works, the WGA negotiates a interim deal for a select few (like those poor Letterman writers for example. BTW it's gotta be tough on those Letterman Late Show writers. I mean, out on the picket line and having your boss still pay your salary has got to be rough, right? And now, just as the weather will be awful--wet, cold, miserable--they get to go back to their warm, comfy offices where they still get to collect a paycheck. No wonder their morale is high. Mine would be too if I was still getting paid and knew that I'd be soon back in the warmth of my office.) Meanwhile, all the other WGA writers who don't get a "deal" walk the picket line, rack up miles on their shoe leather and even more in debts, with no income. They get to sacrifice and the select few get paid.

This does not strike (inadvertent pun) me as very fair. Whatever happened to the unity and purpose of walking the line. And if the WGA leadership cuts deals like this, what other deals will they cut that benefits the AMPTP?

Yeah, you can hear the disgruntledness in my voice, can't you?

Good.

Because, I'm pissed. And I bet I'm not the only one.

not a troll said...

The WGA walked out 42 days ago, if they want this strike to end they could go back to work and negotiate at the same time. That could be a strategy to get the AMPTP back to the table. The late nite shows coming back makes the WGA weaker.

intrigued said...

IMO, this is a risky proposition. If they goal is to reach an agreement with a couple independents in hopes of forcing the AMPTP to reach an agreement this can be a very good move. However, there are 2 huge risks involved. (1) WGA membership starts to splinter as some striking workers watch other union members crossing the picket lines to get paid. (2) If this strategy doesn't force AMPTP back to the table and the WGA is forced to negotiate a 100+ seperate deals then the union membership would be split amongst all those different contracts and the WGA would lose ALL future negotiating power!

It's getting interesting.

intrigued said...

yes i am...,

the Late Show writer's that are striking are not being paid by Letterman while they are on strike. He is paying the non-writing staff that is not working as a result of the writer's strike.

Evan Waters said...

The WGA walked out 42 days ago, if they want this strike to end they could go back to work and negotiate at the same time. That could be a strategy to get the AMPTP back to the table.

Yeah, I'm sure the studios are going to say "they're working without a contract and completely folded on the strike, we'd better start making some concessions!"

Bartleby said...

Sorry, but I hate this idea. It sounds like a desperation move, an attempt to do something/anything before the DGA gets back from holidays and starts working out their own deal. Is this a deal that will be binding for years? Or just temporary? In any case, it seems like something that will allow some writers to work, and not others. Isn't that the very definition of breaking a union? The animosity within the WGA will go through the roof, especially when Verrone is saying that it's OK for Rob Burnett to go back to work, while the rest of us have to suck it up. Nice to know that the have's continue to have more.

Is it dawning on Verrone now that his reality writer pet project isn't going to happen? He made too big a deal of it, making it a platform when the majority of the membership just wants a fair deal that allows them residuals in the new media. Ultimately, if there's going to be any movement on that, those reality writers are gonna have to step up to the plate and walk out with the WGA. Absent that, I don't see any point in pursuing it any longer. But now that he's alienated the AMPTP to the point where they don't want to talk, I guess the clock is ticking on whether or not he's going to be utterly irrelevant to this discussion.

Bartleby said...

And before everyone starts to call me a "troll" for daring to critique Verrone, I don't mean that he "alienated the AMPTP" recently. Rather, I'm referring to a pattern of behavior re: the reality writer that started when he got elected 2 years ago.

not a troll said...

Letterman's writers were being paid residuals for the reruns. FYI

Evan Waters said...

Not-a-troll: You're not even reading which posts you comment on, are you?

not a troll said...

Yes, Evan I am I was answering intrigued. Thanks for playing.

Evan Waters said...

And yet it's a complete copy-and-paste of your comment from two posts down.

Harold said...

"Individual negotiations leading to 3-year contracts with individual prodcos" - good.

"Individual strike waivers leading to a longer strike by allowing individual shows to return to air" - bad.

People in the WGA office can spin this all they want, but this is bad. The Late Show should return to air when Worldwide Pants has agreed to a new contract. A strike waiver IS NOT A CONTRACT.

This is the first crack in the dam. More individual strike waivers will be coming. Individual contracts will not.

The WGA should not have given Worldwide Pants a waiver. Worldwide Pants should have given WGA a contract.

The difference between Carson Daly's show and the Late Show is that the Late Show will have a waiver. That's it. Both shows have the same amount of support for the strike.

NONE.

Late Show writers, lick my toe cheese. Thanks for pretending to support the WGA strike.

jimmy said...

I think several of you are totally misunderstanding how this would work.

The WGA is not negotiating with Worldwide Pants just for those writers.

The WGA wants to negotiate a basic deal with Worldwide Pants that governs how the writers they hire are paid.

Not just the writers they have now, but all the writers over the course of the agreement.

And if Worldwide Pants signs a deal with the WGA, writers can work for them and they are not crossing any picket lines.

You don't picket companies you have an agreement with.

This would be the difference with Leno and Conan going back without their parent companies having an agreement with the WGA.

They would be picketed. Letterman would not be.

Leno and Conan (et al) will be asking SAG actors to cross a picket line to be on their shows.

Letterman will not.

Leno and Conan will not have monologues or written bits. Letterman will.

Who do you think will have better guests, funnier shows and better ratings?

Letterman.

Who do you think might be a little pissed that during the holiday season, one of the networks, CBS, has an original, new, nightly show on the air that will be attracting advertisers put off by the lack of original content elsewhere.

Every other company in the AMPTP.

This is good for writers, because it shows that a powerful entertainment figure and company, Letterman and Worldwide Pants, see the writers as asking for reasonable things, for reasonable money, and that the writers are NOT the ones causing this work stoppage.

So then what if NBC/Universal cracks? They realize if they deal with the WGA directly, they could be the first network with new shows on the air come the new year. Leno and Conan could get their writers back and get some of the real actors on there to promote Universals's upcoming feature releases.

So then maybe writers have a contract with WWP and NBC. Then who will be next? Who will realize their competitors are going to be making lots of money while they sit on the sidelines looking like greedy fools.

And the dominoes could fall.

It's a risky, tough, daring strategy. But should they just sit back and wait for the AMPTP to get over itself and put people back to work?

The worst that could happen for writers is that Letterman, a staunch defender of writers and obviously a big supporter of the WGA, will be on five nights a week calling the AMPTP a bunch of weasles.

That alone would not only keep morale up for writers, but make a dent in the bigger pr war that looms as television schedules get very ugly come the new year.

Evan Waters said...

Harold- do you have proof that there WON'T be a contract between the WGA and Worldwide Pants, that it'll just be a waiver?

The facts on this have been slow to trickle out, so I kinda need to wait and see how it starts to trickle out. Is there anything which would prevent Worldwide Pants from granting net residuals to its writers if they wanted?

Geo Rule said...

I like this move, so long as there is some company, mid-size or bigger, on the other side that will be willing to negotiate separately. It's a little late in the process to be going here, but the UAW has been doing it this way for years for very sound tactical reasons.

Evan Waters said...

And my apologies to the writers reading this for using the phrase "trickle out" twice in the same sentence. I should've known better.

Bartleby said...

"The worst that could happen for writers is that Letterman, a staunch defender of writers and obviously a big supporter of the WGA, will be on five nights a week calling the AMPTP a bunch of weasles."

Actually, the worst that could happen for the WGA is that animosity reaches nuclear level as some are allowed to work, and others are not. Then the show runners go back to work, and the union's back is broken.

The WORST is not that Letterman makes a few jokes about the AMPTP.

Steph said...

Good luck tomorrow!

Bill said...

Sounds like a deal to allow writers to write with a strike voucher to be paid in retro for the difference in the current contract and the future contract. This could go either way for the WGA and only time will tell. This type of labor agreement works best when both sides are negotiating in good faith with a clear goal so how it fits in here is a mystery to me. As for using this as a "divide and conquer" tactic, I don't remember any previous precedent that would apply. Will be interesting to see what effect it has.

To quote "War Games": I'd piss on a sparkplug if I thought it would help"

Harold said...

Evan, from Worldwide Pants directly:

"Because we are an independent production company, we are able to pursue an INTERIM AGREEMENT [my CAPS] with the Guild without involving CBS in that pursuit."

I realize that you're probably a student, but an "interim agreement" is just a waiver. It is not a contract, and it doesn't pretend to be one. Note the word "interim."

The Late Show will not be signing a contract. It is being granted a waiver. BIG DIFFERENCE.

Jimmy wrote "I think several of you are totally misunderstanding how this would work."

No, Jimmy. You misunderstand how this works. A waiver is not a contract. The Late Show is getting a waiver. It is not signing a contract. There is little difference between what the Late Show is getting and what the SAG Awards got. Calling it an "interim agreement" sounds nice, but it is the same as "strike waiver."

This is the first crack in the dam. MARK IT DOWN: More strike waivers for shows not owned by networks will be coming. Do not be surprised that the two or three soaps that are owned by private families will be receiving their waivers soon too.

Interim agreements are not contracts. They are strike waivers. They promise little and are bound by nothing.

This is a HUGE mistake by the guild.

A Writer said...

Animosity from writers still on strike toward those who get to go back to work is a real possibility, but there's such an obvious solution. For the duration of the strike, the writers who get to go back to work should donate a significant chunk of those earnings into the strike fund. And now that that's taken care of, the guild can take the AMPTP apart one by one.

Don't you think the AMPTP would love to negotiate with each writer separately instead of having to negotiate with the guild? If these trolls convince even one writer that this new strategy is a mistake, instead of the potentially brilliant strategy (if done right) that it is, then those trolls will definitely have earned their paycheck for the week.

It's all about powers of numbers and leverage. Not right and wrong, not anything else. Since they can't outsource writers, it comes down to this:

Writers Stick Together = Writers Win

Writers Break Apart = AMPTP Wins

Simple as that, and past strikes confirm it too. Here's hoping we stick together no matter what happens along the way.

Harold said...

"a writer" wrote:

"It's all about powers of numbers and leverage. Not right and wrong, not anything else. Since they can't outsource writers, it comes down to this:

Writers Stick Together = Writers Win

Writers Break Apart = AMPTP Wins

Simple as that, and past strikes confirm it too. Here's hoping we stick together no matter what happens along the way."

Here's why giving strike waivers (e.g., Worldwide Pants) is a bad idea and why "individual negotiations" probably isn't going to work.

1. It divides writers. In your words, this is "Writers Break Apart = AMPTP Wins." The reason is that the way it is currently being done bleeds support away from the strike. Think the Late Show writers will be on the lines? They're out of the game. As more waivers are given, more writers are working, and fewer are striking. Quick show of hands: Who wants to be the LAST person on the picket line?

2. Even if a few dozen little prodcos made individual deals, it doesn't make an impact. The big corporates that comprise the AMPTP have major buy-out penalties. If they drop out of the AMPTP and make an independent deal with the WGA or any of the other unions, they will take a financial hit. All of those guys have one another by the collective balls. It would only help the WGA if it could lure one of the majors to drop out and make an individual deal, because that would undercut the others at the bargaining table as intended. But in order for one of them to do that, it would mean that the upside would have to be much better than the loss they would take from dropping out of the AMPTP and that's unlikely. [Some of the previous was paraphrased from another writer who may or may not wish to be credited.]

In summary:

1. Waivers weaken the strike by removing support for it.

2. Unless a major corp breaks ranks, individual contracts with prodcos mean nothing.

jimmy said...

Okay, maybe I am the one that misunderstood.

But if this is so bad for writers and so good for the AMTPTP, why are they scrambling to show the public they are unified?

If it's the first step to breaking writers, why protest so much?

jimmy said...

There has to be something different going on here than just a "waiver", Burnett's statements says:

"we have expressed our willingness to sign an interim agreement with the Guild consistent with its positions in this dispute."

This doesn't sound like a waiver, it's sounds like a negotiated deal.

Letterman wouldn't ask for a waiver, he's not trying to break the writers.

it's been called the first step in the "divide and conquer" approach. they are not going to try to get NBC and Viacom to sign "waivers", they are going to try to get them to sign an MBA and become a signatory on their own outside of the AMPTP.

I thought this is what they would do with WorldWide Pants (Worldwide Trousers) which is on the list of struck companies.

When they sign and agreement, they become unstruck. They are the first signatory. The agreement might not be three years, but a term that is limited to the work action being stopped.

No?

I think we have to wait until Monday to see what's really up...

Harold said...

Jimmy wrote:

"But if this is so bad for writers and so good for the AMTPTP, why are they scrambling to show the public they are unified?"

You mean the new "One Common Goal" ad?

That probably took them two or three days to put together. It wouldn't be a reaction to yesterday. Nothing moves quickly. Even this website took two days to catch up with newswire reporting.

AMPTP scrambling? They've probably been working on a new logo for a week.

Harold said...

Jimmy, when you write:

"Burnett's statements says:

'we have expressed our willingness to sign an interim agreement with the Guild consistent with its positions in this dispute.'

This doesn't sound like a waiver, it's sounds like a negotiated deal."

it's like you don't understand English. What is about the "interim" in "interim agreement" that you don't understand?

No one is calling this a "contract" or a "strike waiver," although it is an agreement to allow the show to air during the strike without any firm promise of a contract.

Saying an "interim agreement" is a "contract" and not a "strike waiver" is like saying "waterboarding" is "strong interrogation" and not "torture."

So, if you like the wordplay, try this. Expect more "interim agreements" for more shows not owned by networks, but no "permanent agreements" of three years or more.

An interim agreement isn't a contract. It's a strike waiver. A contract might be called a "long-term agreement."

Jerad said...

funny I always thought "interim agreement" meant an agreement serving during an interval of time; silly me and my english getting in the way.

they could agree to anything it doesn't mean they have to stick with what they've had so far (which the WGA may or may not accept) and it doesn't mean WWP has to pay each writer eleventy billion dollars per hour (which the WGA probably would accept.) I guess we'll all know what/if there was an agreement reached soon enough.

A Writer said...

harold,

That's why I said the writers who go back to work should give a significant chunk of their earnings to the strike fund while the strike is still ongoing. That negates the infighting between writers. I would be fine being the last one on the line in that scenario.

Watcher said...

Wow! This *must* be a great move. I haven't seen such a panicked astroturfer pile-on since... well, ever.

"We weren't able to divide them over the reality gambit. Let's make them all paranoid about other writers getting a 'free pass'! Tell them this will divide the membership enough, maybe they'll just assume the membership is divided."

How childish would the writers have to be to resent the fact that Letterman's writers will work? Because relieving a little bit of suffering and striking a blow that could lead to the end of strike is FAR less important than whining that other writers got a shiny new rattle! Just imagine all of them on the picket line going, "Waaaaaaah!"

The hell with that. I'm happy for the Letterman writers. I'm thrilled that the Guild is moving out a chesspiece and trying this gambit, instead of sitting around crying "woe is me" through the holidays.

My only question is, *why* did this provoke such a heavy troll pile-on? Can the AMPTP be more fragmented than we thought? Are a couple of them thinking of making a deal?

If so, I salute them. They have nothing to lose but their chains.

jimmy said...

Todd,

Gotta say that my English informs me that "interim agreement" is a lot closer to "short term contract" than it is to "strike wavier."

but maybe that's just me.

so why is the WGA negotiating with Worldwide Pants? What do you negotiate in a waiver?

Don't you just either grant one or don't?

Cinco Paul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cinco Paul said...

All these posts trying to get writers disgruntled over the Late Show deal are hilarious. And reek of desperation.

It's not going to work. Give up.

I'm a working writer. I walk the picket lines. I'm happy to walk the picket lines while other writers go back to work for companies who give us a fair deal. I would never in a million years ask them to contribute to the strike fund. I hope more companies decide to negotiate independently with the WGA and that more writers and BTL people go back to work, even if it means I'm still out walking the picket lines. Because of the increased pressure it puts on the AMPTP.

This is about the big picture. And we writers know that.

Ilike2think said...

Can the WGA please explain this move and the reason for it? It may be a good one but people are panicking and that is never good.

Harold said...

Cinco Paul, Watcher, and all other pie in the sky idealists: At the assembly tomorrow, I'm pretty certain that you will learn that not everyone thinks handing out waivers is genius thinking. What do you not understand about "individual negotiations to break the AMPTP = good" and "individual strike waivers that prolong the strike = bad?" Your wake-up call is at 6:30pm tomorrow.

"a writer" in regards to donating significant chunks of salary to the strike fund: That's a great idea. Why don't we have Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny enforce those donations? Remember, those strike loans may be no interest, but they still have to be repaid.

Jerad in regards to "interim agreement:" Yes, it's for an interval of time - THE STRIKE. It is not a contract. It's just a waiver. I don't understand why some of you don't understand that. Oh, that's right. Most of you that are posting aren't even WGA members. Thanks for your fictitious insight.

Peter said...

It's good to see that this post is getting some attention from some real people - not just trolls.

I'm not a writer, nor do I have a lot of information about this particular proposal (beyond what's on this site and what was in the NYT today).

The simple rubric for power in labor struggles works like this:

UNITED=strong

DIVIDED=weak

We're all pretty clear on what this strike is about, writers want to be paid for their work and the amptp doesn't want to pay them.

So if the writers are able to get some employers to agree to their demands and remain UNITED about what they went on strike for, that increases their strength. If some employers start signing individual agreements and become DIVIDED, then the amptp becomes weaker.

The trick is to get a large employer (or enough small ones) to agree to the principles that writers are currently striking for so that it becomes the standard. Maybe getting a program like Letterman to agree (and therefore get back on the air with new content) creates enough incentive for the larger employers to come to table in meaningful way - I don't know enough about the economics of this.

As for precedents, UNITE HERE has used this strategy successfully with hotel chains and SEIU uses it with hospitals, nursing homes and janitorial companies. There's probably more examples, but the bottom line is that this strategy can work.

Jerad said...

Still waiting for some sort of proof that this agreement you know so much about is on the same terms as the old contract harold. Even a temporary agreement doesn't have to be the same as the previous one (for reference the contract currently being negotiated will most be good for three years, it could therefore be called an interim agreement.) As for whether or not I'm a member of the WGA it's irrelevant but I'll say for sure that I either am or am not. I'm still not sure what that has to do with a grasp of the English language though as you've yet to evince one.

Happy holidays all!

Carrie said...

An interim agreement is not the same as a waiver. A waiver allows a writer to work under the terms of the old contract. An interim agreement is an agreement that's put in place, with it's own, new negotiated terms, until it's replaced with a new, overall MBA.

I hate to dismiss comments as trollish, but some of these attempts at panic inducement are beyond the pale. It seems pretty clear to me that this offer to negotiate with individual companies is meant to divide and conquer the AMPTP. My best guess is that the WGA wouldn't go with this strategy unless back channel communications were indicating a big fish could be reeled in.

It's a risky move, but if the WGA can get individual companies to agree to deals that include a fair plan on new media, it only puts pressure on AMPTP that a fair deal can be struck. And the fact that AMPTP is being dismissive to the idea points to individual bargaining not being a bad tactic in my not so humble opinion.

Watcher said...

ilike2think, no one is panicking. And the WGA has already explained their strategy, which this fits into perfectly. If you go back through the posts here, you'll find it. Every writer I know of is happy about this.

I've noticed a lot more astroturfing posts asking questions, though, haven't you guys? Can anyone explain, can anyone give legal precedents, can anyone tie themselves into pretzels writing us a long document we can pick at? Thanks.

Frustrated Bystander said...

Oh please, anyone who claims to be a writer griping about a fellow writer going back to work is obviously not steeped in Hollywood writer culture. I think it's great Letterman supported his staff and the WGA. I think its awesome that he can get his production company back in the saddle doing what he and all his staff loves. Congratulations on accomplishing what every writer on the line wants to have happen. Thanks for cooperating and making a guarantee on a fair deal. All the astroturfers who are posing as showrunners and struggling low level writers griping about "what about me?" sound like the narrow venial competitive corporate climbing astroturfer executives that they are.

Thank You AMPTP astroturfers for enlightening us about your triggers. Can you go back to your bosses now and finally frigging get them to sign the deal on the table? Just to remind you all how little it will cost...

*For Sony, this entire deal would cost $1.68 million per year.
*For Disney it would cost $6.25 million per year.
*Paramount and CBS would each pay only $4.66 million per year.
*Warners would pay about about $11.2 million per year.
*Fox would pay about $6.04 million per year.
*NBC/Universal would pay $7.44 million per year.
*MGM would pay only $320,000 per year.
*All the other companies would assume the remaining cost of about $8.3 million per year.

http://www.wga.org/subpage_member.aspx?id=2628

Harold said...

Jerad,

The basics of any Worldwide Pants "interim agreement" will say that the Late Show gets a strike waiver for the duration of the strike. In exchange, the provisions of whatever agreement is eventually made (yeah, with the AMPTP) will be retroactive to the date of the waiver.

That's all the Late Show "interim agreement" is going to be. There will be no separate contract.

Other shows (and I'm predicting the family owned soaps will be first) will follow. If this keeps happening, you will have plenty of people working under the old terms that aren't even striking anymore for the new ones, but will be covered by them. Doesn't that sound familiar? Financial core, anyone?

This is not the same as individual negotiations to break the AMPTP. Individual waivers WITHOUT CONTRACTS break the WGA. For the most part, I think it's possible that WGA didn't have a choice. Support is falling from the showrunners too. It's not catastrophic by any means, but it is weakening.

For God's sake, listen to the showrunners tomorrow. Screw the ones that want to get back to work now, but listen to the issues that the others think are important. There has to be a focus on their biggest issues to keep them in the strike.

Is there a place that I can bet money that the Late Show will not sign a 3-year (or even 1-year) deal with WGA? Easy money.

Harold said...

This is ridiculous. Frustrated Bystander is clearly an AMPTP troll.

Your encouragement of waivers without contracts is revealing. Why not all of us go back to work then, AMPTP hack?

You will not break this strike. One of your spies at the assembly will report that back to you tomorrow.

Carrie said...

Harold, are you on the negotiating committee? Because I don't know how else you could possibly know what interim agreement the WGA might make.

Jerad said...

Sorry, all I'm hearing from you is still speculation and psychic predictions. come tomorrow or the day after I may be wrong, but to say that interim agreement = no progress is patently false without the details of the agreement.

I understand that you may be frustrated about this if you are in fact a writer; but to claim that there is no progress made when the agreement hasn't even been announced yet is presumptuous on your part and only serves the amptp's goals even in the best of circumstances.

As I've said before we'll know in the near future what terms were agreed to between the WGA and WWP. In the meantime all your blathering aobut it is nothing more than contentious posturing on the part of the amptp; whether you're on their payroll or not.

thank you and good day.

Harold said...

"My best guess is that the WGA wouldn't go with this strategy unless back channel communications were indicating a big fish could be reeled in."

Carrie,

Are you suggesting that the same group of negotiators that gave up DVDs with NO PROMISE OF ANYTHING, would pursue a strategy without considering its consequences?

Harold said...

Carrie wrote "Harold, are you on the negotiating committee?"

Carrie and Jerad,

Are you even out of school? Are you even in the WGA?

Because I don't know how else you could possibly know what I'm talking about. What I'm beginning to realize is that few actual WGA members post comments here. No wonder that some of these comments don't reflect reality.

Jerad said...

So, harold I'll take from your post that you have no evidence that the WWP agreement is a postponment of current agreements.

It is also quite apparent that the only possible result of your contentiousness would be to create dissent in the WGA ranks.

Unless you have some argument other than your oft used "you're still in school" discussion there's really nothing more to be said to you.

Good night.

Carrie said...

Actually my comment says the WGA would NOT pursue a strategy without considering the consequence, and as an added bonus says WGA would not pursue a risky strategy without thinking their was something worthwhile to be gained.

And in fact the negotiating committee did not take DVD off the table with the promise of nothing. They were promised fair negotiations on the other issues. AMPTP backed out without handing anything over. Lesson learned. You can't take anything off the table with AMPTP without a solid proposal first. WGA took a risk. Strikes are all about risks.

The difference is when I post what I THINK is going on, I post it as an opinion, not as a cold hard fact. And when you challenge one of my posts, I'll actually answer it, instead of deflecting by pointing out another one of your comments.

With that said, unless you have anything of substance to add, I'm now bowing out of my discussion with you.

Carrie

Carrie said...

Well, I have a PS, because Harold did post another question. I am out of school. I am an associate caucus member of the WGA through the reality organizing committee. I was part of the ROC during the America's Next Top Model strike. So, now you can hurl insults at me because I'm just a reality writer, and that's fine. I'm a reality writer that proudly supports the WGA in their efforts to win this strike wishing that reality television was better organized at this time so we were out there with you.

Joseph said...

I think negotiating with WWP is a devious and clever move. Start negotiating with prodcos that have shows in the same time slots as huge prodcos. So Letterman gets back on the air and gets money and start stealing the Leno audience. What more could piss off the AMPTP? The strike works both ways. WGA doesn't want scabs to start working for old money agreements, and the AMPTP doesn't want scabs paying WGA satisfactory money. If WGA can get scabs in the AMPTP, then more power to the WGA.

Joseph said...

I agree about the reality writers, what was said earlier. If the reality writers want to be in the WGA they should go on strike. Like the family guy strike that got them in WGA. Shouldn't that be one of the lessons from Iraq, the people you save will never be satisfied with their hero unless they save themselves as well? lol, sort of a gross metaphor but I think it still applies.

Dave said...

Watcher, if you got a nickel for every time you write "troll" or "astroturfer", you wouldn't need the strike to end. Not that anyone believes you are a working writer anyway.

I believe the deal with Letterman will be an interim contract/agreement that may have what WGA is asking for, but will revert to the final agreement that the AMPTP signs when the strike ends (most likely not as good a deal). So, basically a clever way to look like the WGA's requests are being honored, but in fact just a straw horse to start getting the writers back to work.

Carrie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Harold said...

Carrie,

In regards to your comment:

"So, now you can hurl insults at me because I'm just a reality writer, and that's fine."

I'm definitely wrong on one account. I wrote:

"No wonder that some of these comments don't reflect reality."

That's obviously not true.

I'm just tired and pessimistic and disappointed and a fan of conjunctions. That is all.

Carrie said...

Harold, I'm not sure what to make of your last comment, but if you are a member of WGA and on strike, all I can say is hang in there. As someone who works without a union behind them, I can say the fight is worth it.

Jerad said...

And as one that was on the verge of being able to join when the strike hit I agree... well worth it.

Sorry if my comments have been a bit pointed, but this is something that needs to be done. We can't divide now, we need to be able to do this in a unified manner to support those that will follow us as those that went before did for us.

Apologies again for being harsh, but I do believe we need to be united for the sake of all writers, regardless of who gets to go back to work sooner, to create the best real world we can for those that follow.

Jerad

Trey said...

To those who think the Letterman development is bad news for the WGA - and I believe there are people who legitimately think that, without being trolls - let me see if I have this straight...

David Letterman could have kept his show on the air from day one. He could have ignored the strike completely, and kept right on working. Other talk show hosts did. He didn't.

Instead, he's stayed off the air all this time, not just with his own show, but all the other shows his company produces.

And during that time, he's paid the salaries of his non-striking workers out of his own pocket, not to mention paying the lease on the Ed Sullivan theater and all the other ancillary costs that come from being his own producer. The total must be running into the millions by now.

And he never had to do any of those things. He could have gone back on the air anytime he wanted, and he never needed a WGA interim agreement to do that.

He's also a writer himself, and a 30-year member of the WGA, if that counts for anything.

Now he's jumped the AMPTP fence - the first of the hundreds of AMPTP member companies to publicly do so - and is making a separate agreement with the WGA, one that will take Worldwide Pants off the list of struck companies and allow union writers to return to work there.

His writers, who've been striking this entire time, find this acceptable. The WGA finds this acceptable. Meanwhile, CBS felt compelled to issue a press release reiterating that it "remains unified with the AMPTP" (as opposed to something like: yay, Dave's really stuck it to the writers, victory is ours).

Won't it also help demonstrate to the disgruntled non-WGA workers who insist on blaming the WGA for their woes that they could be back at work too, if more companies did what Dave has done?

And finally - anyone who watches Letterman knows he's always been merciless in his mocking of CBS. (He did the same when he was on NBC.) I can't predict the future, but I suspect he may have a thing or two to say about the strike when he gets his airtime back.

And if he does, he'll be saying it to a national audience. And helping him write that material will be a roomful of union writers who'll have just walked past their less-fortunate union brethren outside, the same ones they've been marching in solidarity with for six weeks.

Again, I can't predict the future... but I'm gonna be watching Dave's first broadcast with great anticipation of what he might have to say.

My question is... how is any of this good news for the AMPTP??

Frustrated Bystander said...

Let's play with the idea that this is an interim agreement. Let's say this agreement gives the WGA everything they are asking for right now with a clause that says the deal will eventually conform to whatever the final MBA is.

Having independent production companies signing on to the current WGA proposals shows that the Guild is making deals that everyone can work under while the AMPTP continues to stonewall. This weakens the AMPTP's claims that they are negotiating in good faith and shows that their overall bargaining position is unreasonable. Plus if enough companies sign, the WGA deal gathers momentum and becomes the defacto pattern. If you're in business, you're in business with this deal and back in production and making money.

LOL -- that I am an AMPTP troll. Wow. I thought the whole idea of "divide and conquer" is to position the WGA into an advantageous negotiating posture that will effect a good contract and a short strike for everyone involved.

Carrie said...

Also if WGA gets interim agreements in place with fair and reasonable terms it makes it that harder for AMPTP to keep them out of the MBA. The writers will see that a fair contract is possible and should strengthen writers' resolve.

Watcher said...

Dave, you're pretty when you're angry. Sorry the truth hurts.

I do want to compliment your group on one thing, though. A few days ago another writer and I criticized the level of astroturfing here, which had gone downhill lately, and said it needed to be more than vitriol. Put a little confusion in, a little fake sympathy, that sort of thing. Make it better. And you guys have taken our notes to heart.

Except for your last, unfortunately. "Just a straw horse to get the writers back to work." I don't even know what that's supposed to say. The Guild cleverly made a deal with WWP to "start getting the writers back to work"? The Guild leaders were sitting around saying, hmm, how can we get everyone back to work? Because when you're striking, the first thing you want to do is have your people working instead of picketing. Strike means "work" in your alien tongue.

"We could just ask them all to return to work tomorrow -- we have that power -- but it would be too easy."

"I know! We'll make agreements with every single show on TV, and every production company making a movie! We'll do it one by one!"

Thank you for that explanation; it's all clear now. As a member of your audience, I'm sorry to say that among the gentlemen of the turf, you are the weakest link.

intrigued said...

I previously stated my perspective on this latest development. However, after reading many of the comments here, one thing stood out to me. Dave Letterman is a member of the WGA. So the WGA is reaching an "interim agreement" with the WGA in essence. I'm still digesting how this plays into the big picture, but I just thought I would mention it.

Laurie said...

I haven't read every comment here, but anyone who perceives this as caving is missing the point. The power of a union is in its unity and its ability to negotiate for what it wants. The WGA wants writers to get a fair deal; if they begin to achieve this in smaller doses with individual companies (like Letterman's), then that is the beginning of the larger win for all.

They are not going to get this fair deal by continuing to give credibility to the collective power of the conglomerates. Collusion is the delusion - the spell cast, needing to be broken. When the WGA recognizes that it can negotiate with each studio independently, the market will shift in its favor. That's power - and power wielded for the good.

I posted excerpts from Elisberg's article in a recent blog (speechless but rambling) out of wild enthusiasm for the common sense he illuminated. I hope it builds from here! This isn't just a matter of the writers' income and future rights; it's a matter of how we perceive the power of mega-congloms in an evolving world economy, and how we check that power with conscious response. Go scribes!

Laurie Perez

Carrie said...

Intigued, the WGA, in negotiating with WWP, it is not negotiating with David Letterman personally. Letterman being a 30 year member may make him and his company more sympathetic to the cause, but WWP is still not a WGA member. It's an AMPTP member. In Hollywood many people are hyphenates and many production companies are owned by WGA members. It's why showrunners in TV had to decide what they were first writers or producers. Most decided writers and didn't cross the picket line.

hollarback said...

Is this an all troll board or are there actual humans commenting here as well? So tired of reading through the negative blather to get to some actual content...

And I'm sure someone has already answered this - but Letterman's writers are not getting paid, everyone else on the show is. That is common knowlege. Way to stir up an old non-story.

Harold said...

Watcher, Jimmy, Jerad, et al,

So, now that you've been to the WGA assembly (probably not) and/or read the news (anyone can do), no comments?

After all of your baseless "You're an AMPTP troll" bullshit, not even an apology for your clueless and uninformed remarks?

The fact that you were wrong because you didn't even know WTF you were talking about hasn't humbled you?

Oh, well.

Students and WGA wannabes, the support is appreciated. Your clueless uninformed remarks are NOT.