12/28/2007

Modest Proposal: Truce?

Regular readers of the comments section here will know "BTL Guy." He's a crew member (protecting his identity) who supports a fair deal for writers and strong unions but doesn't think the WGA leadership should have called the strike when they did. He recently sent me a Modest Proposal and has posted it on his blog, Divided Hollywood. (And yes, as much as I respect BTL Guy, that name, grrr!)

BTL Guy raises an interesting idea: Could the companies be forced back to the table by taking a "time out" in the strike? He suggests that the tactic only be used if the congloms agree to postpone all negotiations with other unions so long as WGA talks are ongoing. As he points out, there are huge pitfalls here. Would any progress be made? Would the companies bother to negotiate in good faith or would they act provocatively so as to encourage the WGA to call the strike back on? Right now, the AMPTP can't explain why they aren't at the table. That's why they dodged the LA City Council meeting on 12/19. It obviously wouldn't make any sense for the guild to flip that situation.

But hey, the point of a Modest Proposal is raise some eyebrows. So have at it in the comments.

13 comments:

Dan said...

I believe the union would have to make an offer to return to work, and the companies could then attach conditions before allowing you back in.

Before making that gambit, you should figure out if the companies will accept you returning to work, and under what conditions.

If they think there is the slightest chance of you're walking out again, they would probably be proactive and enact a lock out - which is what the grocery chains did to their work force.

Once you've used the strike leverage, you can't really take it back.

embers said...

I think the AMPTP would see this as a huge win: getting the WGA to be their own scabs. Getting more scripted material without having to give a fair contract. They could go on like that forever. They don't care if it destroys the union.

I feel really bad about the below the line people, the writers all do too, the only ones who REALLY don't care are the AMPTP. You can't let them win.

Seriously, this is important to everyone's future.

bluestocking said...

Embers's point has the sad ring of truth about it. Also, let's assume for a moment that if matters were not concluded satisfactorily by June, the WGA would strike again, this time with the actors. Wouldn't the companies use the time between now and June to get as many films and TV episodes produced as possible, as quickly as possible, so they'll have product to release over the course of the next year?

So wouldn't this all simply result in a postponed, but much longer, grimmer strike? Which everyone would enter into with savings already depleted?

And -- this may not be significant, but it keeps coming up -- the AMPTP is going to start negotiating with the DGA. Suppose the resulting agreement does not address new media in a way that works for the WGA? I've never understood why that means the WGA and SAG would have to go along with it, but some people keep repeating that they do, so for what it's worth I mention it as a factor.

Basically, then, we have (1) writers acting as their own scabs while (2) the DGA negotiates an agreement with the AMPTP and (3) the AMPTP stockpiles produced material at as furious a rate as possible leading to (4) a disheartened WGA facing a potential *second* strike time, along with SAG, that will be even longer and grimmer, while both Guilds are pounded with the DGA agreement, and the companies gradually release film after film and say they don't need anybody.

Feel free to critique this analysis.

Jake said...

Here's the deal, the WGA isn't the one who has fired or forced lay-offs on people, that's the sole responsibility the AMPTP. The BTL people ought to be pissed off at them not the WGA.

As for the time out idea, the only one who benefits from that idea is the AMPTP (not unlike when the encourage writers to write more material just before the strike)...

The AMPTP isn't interested in "negotiating" nor do they give a rats ass about the BTL people. If they could the AMPTP would love a Hollywood sans any sort of union whatsoever. The AMPTP would love to have us all work like they do on those so-called reality shows: longer work day, no overtime, no benefits, etc. etc. etc.

BTL guy is insane if he thinks the AMPTP can be trusted to do the right thing during a "time out." They've all ready demonstrated they don't want to negotiate. Period.

Post Guy said...

BTL guy,

I like your proposal. I am sure there would be tweaking necessary as you point out, but the idea of it is a good start.

Labor continuing to work under the old contract while a new one is hammered out, is nothing new gang. This is not some crazy off the wall idea. It is not "scabbing your own work" whatsoever. It's been done this way countless times for the benefit of an entire industry numerous times in the past. In fact, as long as labor has been around this has been an approach that worked.

If something cannot be reached by June, the "perfect storm" is waiting.

Interestingly, not many have commented on AFTRA's involvement in this also. If I am not mistaken, many of the personalities for reality, news, talk, sports,etc are AFTRA performers. (someone please correct me if I am wrong on this) And, I have no idea how deep AFTRA goes into the radio business, so potentially there is even more power from outside sources.

Obviously, nothing is going to happen before the DGA, so any discussion of how that plays out doesn't really matter any more. And this is assuming the DGA does come to an agreement. So far, nothing has gone as expected, so there could be even more with you in June.

Let's be honest here, AMPTP doesn't give a damn about this tv season, and probably next. It hurts us (all of us) way more than it hurts them. We're talking about companies with cruise lines, publishing, cable networks, etc. Tv is a very small part of their business.

As far as stockpiling goes, TV is already at least 6 weeks behind, there will not be extra shows to produce, only saving whatever we had at this point. (to make a June cutoff anyway)

On the feature side, nothing new is going into production that can't be finished by June. Outside of lower budget films, features going into production after Jan 1 are minimal at best. Stockpiling is not going to be effective.

Hurt them with numbers, hurt them with SAG, AFTRA, and the WGA. 120,000 plus members! That will get their attention, and their investors attention !

As said in previous posts, I have tremendous respect for writers. I wish I was good enough to be a WGA writer, but I'm not. I honestly do want to see you guys get what you truly want and deserve. But it's time to take a serious look and consider some alternatives to get what you want, with less time on strike, with less damage to the industry, instead of more.

I believe staying the course until June hurts all of us, (writers too) and makes for a longer strike than is necessary to get what you want.

Delaying until you have even more power just makes sense when you are going up against huge companies, does it not?

Killing off the tv and pilot seasons doesn't make good sense for writers, or just about anyone. It makes us weaker.

BTL guy, thanks for the proposal.

bluestocking said...

Post Guy said:

"As far as stockpiling goes, TV is already at least 6 weeks behind, there will not be extra shows to produce, only saving whatever we had at this point. (to make a June cutoff anyway)"

I have to disagree with you on that. We may be six weeks behind, but production usually finishes around April-May anyway; after that, it's all in the hands of Post. The season would simply be extended to June 1.

If we consider that *new* seasons generally start around the last week of May -- in a few cases, earlier -- this essentially gives the AMPTP back the majority of this television season. (If we went back immediately, they'd get the entire season.)

There's just no way around the fact that if all the TV writers go back, that's almost half a year of work. There will be episodes.

There are also pilot scripts languishing, ready to be shot -- those would be done. Which means the AMPTP also gets the upfronts, and as we know, it's all about the money.

Plus there are those films they were rushing through to try to get done by June; some of them were close to production-ready, but not quite, when the strike started.

And then, come June, the actors would walk out. And the AMPTP would say, "Enjoy your hiatus, everyone. Did you forget that TV production shuts down around this time of year anyway? You expect us to feel pain? The TV public isn't even going to know you're gone for three months. Now let's start releasing those films slowly..."

It doesn't look pretty. I hate to say it, because June would have worked out much better for me financially (and in regard to some personal issues that are important to me, too). But in terms of the bigger picture, it doesn't seem to add up.

Post Guy said...

Blue Stocking said:

"I have to disagree with you on that. We may be six weeks behind, but production usually finishes around April-May anyway; after that, it's all in the hands of Post. The season would simply be extended to June 1."



Prime Time network television airing ends in mid May, for pretty good reason.

If you are still concerned, simple, make an agreement to not do any more than the normal number of episodes for the season. Do you really think they would say no?





Blue Stocking said:

"If we consider that *new* seasons generally start around the last week of May -- in a few cases, earlier -- this essentially gives the AMPTP back the majority of this television season. (If we went back immediately, they'd get the entire season.)"


And what is wrong with that tactic exactly? That is the entire point of BTL guys proposal. Don't throw away the next 6 months until June (minimum). I truly don't believe anything substantial will happen WGA contract wise before June, especially once this tv season is written off.

There is more upside, than downside in his proposal. Take an honest look, how much damage is really being done to AMPTP right now?

Call a truce, delay until power in numbers is with you. They now know you guys mean business, and SAG/AFTRA mean business too.






Blue Stocking said:

"There are also pilot scripts languishing, ready to be shot -- those would be done. Which means the AMPTP also gets the upfronts, and as we know, it's all about the money."


And what is wrong with that? Even better, it will be shows and ratings they can't deliver on in September. If these new series aren't into production by July, there will be no fall tv season for them to get paid for.........right? We win. If everything is settled, and your show is picked up, we win again. No downside.

All we're doing right now is throwing away pilots that will now never get shot. As I'm sure you know, way more pilots get shot than get picked up. We are throwing those away permanently.

Everyone pretty much knows what shows are returning in the Fall, (assuming we're still not in this next Christmas) so the ad time will get sold, one way or another, with or without "upfronts". (which they want to get rid of anyway)





Blue Stocking said:

"Plus there are those films they were rushing through to try to get done by June; some of them were close to production-ready, but not quite, when the strike started"


It's now January 1. I'm not sure how many substantial pictures you are referring to, and why I used the word "substantial". I don't know how many features go through re-writes, approvals, casting with names, pre-production, and finish shooting in under 6 months. Not many, which is why I made this comment. Lower budget fare, but that's about it.



Blue Stocking said:

And then, come June, the actors would walk out. And the AMPTP would say, "Enjoy your hiatus, everyone. Did you forget that TV production shuts down around this time of year anyway? You expect us to feel pain? The TV public isn't even going to know you're gone for three months. Now let's start releasing those films slowly..."


Blue stocking, the general American Public has already forgotten this strike was going on. Go ask someone who isn't a close friend, and is from outside this industry. I have, a lot. The response generally is.......,"Wow, is that still going on"?

The hiatus to them will just be extended. This season is at least 1/2 done (some 2/3rd) as I'm sure you are aware, with many mid-season shows pretty well complete as well. You've got March Madness in there, football playoffs, etc. Are we waiting for the public to scream for new ER, or CSI?

Not gonna happen, they will move on to something else.

Not to forget, they still get American Idol with no well written dramas to counter that. Fox, (do you really think they want this settled?) is going to be rolling in huge ratings, just when that show was finally flattening out.

And in June, there will be nothing to prep for the Fall. TV pre-production begins in late June/early July as I'm sure you know. It's not really hiatus time for production.

With an industry wide (pretty much) strike in June, there will be very little to zero new tv come Fall. No reality, no sports, nothing. (AFTRA performers, I am assuming here) and of course, no prime time dramas. Daytime, (man will my wife be pissed) nighttime, it's all done. The American Public might actually notice this.

Now, we have pressure. Now we have reasons to they'll settle.

On the feature side, I do post on many films in addition to tv. Do you realize how much product is out there for purchase that is already complete? I'm not even getting into scripts they still have options on.

Features are in good shape, my guess, early 2009, maybe even late 2009. Are they going to be the best we have to offer? No, and Yes actually. I've handled some amazing films that haven't been picked up for distribution. Theaters will not go dark, that's for certain. Yes, films will play longer, and is what the studios want anyway. (which means less films getting produced, which again hurts us)






Blue Stocking said:

"It doesn't look pretty. I hate to say it, because June would have worked out much better for me financially (and in regard to some personal issues that are important to me, too). But in terms of the bigger picture, it doesn't seem to add up."


It doesn't look pretty, agreed, without much damage to AMPTP getting accomplished (to motivate a solution), even worse.

Granted, I am no union negotiator or strategist. I continue have an open mind to how this current path will lead to a shorter strike, and getting what you want. I read every release, every comment, and still waiting.

If the WGA gets the contract it wants any time before June, I'll come back on here and "eat crow" as they say. (I hope to actually, and please beat the crap out of me when that day comes)

I just don't see the motivation for AMPTP at this point, especially once the Spring season is gone. It's hurting us more than it's hurting them between February and June.

I am just looking at it as what would have made the shortest strike possible, and getting the most gain. Power in numbers (shock and awe) is the way to go against giant companies when you are going to war. And this is war, make no mistake, and why a temporary truce is an excellent suggestion. Does it need tweaking, sure. Does it need protections, sure. But it's a start.

Putting all emotion aside, look at this as a business would. Quite simply, is there more upside than downside? Doesn't BTL guys proposal strengthen you for the next battle in June? Doesn't it strengthen all of us?

Re-group, re-plentish, reinforce, and then end this swiftly.

It does to me.

Jerry Monaco said...

I haven't heard much discussion about something that is relevant in relation to this modest proposal. This strike has many aspects of a "lock-out". Essentially the producers have said, give up your demands and you can come back to work. If you don't give up your demands we won't even "see" you. Even the lead up to the strike looked a little like a lock-out with the producers essentially asking for give backs and walking away from the table. Unfortunately, there are times when the only way to avoid an effective lock-out or the effective voiding of all union negotiated contracts is to strike. This is what I believe happened in the case of the current WGA strike.

I write not as a member of the WGA but as a long time student of labor history and as a veteran of a few strikes.

The "modest proposal" has this small advantage: If the AMPTP does not accept it then it will be made clear that this strike has some aspects of a lock-out about it.

The disadvantages of this "modest proposal" are well stated by bluestocking and others. If the modest proposal were accepted then all of the initiative would be with the AMPTP.

Unfortunately, if you study the history of strikes, there are very few strikes in history where the workers return to work voluntarily during further negotiations and then are won later when a strike has been resumed. The resumption of the strike in every case has been massively scabbed on. The _only_ time in labor history such a tactic of returning to work and then going back on strike later has resulted in a win for the union is when there has been a massive union upsurge later. And when I say massive I mean to the point of a city wide strike in every industry. And that is not likely to happen.

In other words the only reason to gamble on such a modest proposal is if you are absolutely sure that it will not be accepted. In that case it will have some propaganda effect but nothing more.

So please, take labor history into account when thinking about these strike strategies and tactics.

Jerry Monaco

Post Guy said...

Jerry,

Good, I want to debate someone with labor knowledge. Here is the American Heritage definition of a lockout.


"The withholding of work from employees and closing down of a workplace by an employer during a labor dispute. Also called shutout."


Clearly that has not happened here. The workplace is not closed, The WGA walked off the job due to a normal contract dispute, prematurely in my observation.


I just want one question answered, I am not a labor genius by any stretch of the imagination, and you say you are, so please explain to me the WGA's strategy of striking when it did for best effect, leverage, and speed? In detail if you could.



I have read every release from the WGA, just about every posting their members have made here and elsewhere, (yes, completely obsessed) and no one has written a response to the strategy of WHY STRIKE NOW?

Leverage would have occurred in June, not in November. 120,000 plus members of SAG, and perhaps even more importantly AFTRA, were with them. That is precisely the "massive union upsurge" you are speaking about. Our entire industry is shut down, you can't do any better than that.

(BTW, I've never heard of a whole City going on strike, please give me references to your comments so I may research and learn)

And we're not even taking into account the DGA. There might well be 150,000 on strike in June. If that isn't a "massive union upsurge" , I honestly don't know what is. At that point this industry is D.O.N.E.

Since you are not from this business, let me explain a couple of things (I'm trying not to be my usual sarcastic self, so bear with me). Here's a fact, this tv season is today anywhere from 1/2 to 2/3'rds complete. If am running one of these companies, with dozens of different businesses and income streams, do I really care about the last third of one tv season? (especially if I have American Idol in the wings)

Many mid season replacement series ("October Road" as I understand it, as an example) have their entire Spring season of scripts (13 episodes). So in the end, how much leverage is really being applied at this particular point in time? As stated previously, Features will continue to be released until sometime in 2009, just take a look at the release slates.

When you stated AMPTP said, "give up the demands, and you can come back to work" that is not an accurate statement. They are in a new contract negotiation, "give up demands and we will come back to the table", is more accurate.

Asking for rollbacks from a major employer as their first offer should not be a revelation to someone who has studied Labor. This is all called "negotiation", (see there I go getting sarcastic, sorry) and Yes, I've read a number of books on the subject. Probably a better word is "strategy". This is called playing a hand, as the WGA is playing a hand also. I just feel strongly they would, and still could, have a better hand in June. (and be heroes to the thousands of people like me out of work, in the process)

As the BTL Guy proposed....

"A game changing hand".

I guarantee if Verrone, Winship, or Young picked up the phone and said, "We will return to work under the old contract, as long as you are at the table" AMPTP will say Yes. If they say, NO, you now indeed have a lockout. You now have the support of every union member I know, ready to go old school on the whole thing.

Am I happy AMPTP walked away from the table? F*** NO. Believe me, I have no friends there, and will remember this for a long time. Once this is resolved, I will go out of my way to spend my money elsewhere, away from the AMPTP companies.

Here's the reality. (no pun intended)

Once we pass mid to late February, the networks will cancel the rest of the season, leverage then goes completely away (unless the feature writers mobilize) until the late Summer or Fall.

This is precisely why the entire industry expected the WGA to strike in June, it would have been a much shorter 3 month strike, as a group, truly shutting down the industry, probably with bigger gains and certainly not smaller gains.

Please show me where that logic is incorrect.

And the really interesting part to me is.........While the consumer is moving to HD and 5.1 we are worried about crappy resolution, slow, jerky, inconsistent, streaming internet downloads? Ask Walmart, Apple TV, and Microsoft how well that worked out for them. Are 15,000,000 people really going to be watching tv this way within the next 3 years? Is that really how we want our life's work to be presented anyway?

Personally, I'm more worried about downloads ruining our business, like it did the Record Business, that is today in shambles.

Just an observation.

Jerry, as one who studies Labor, what is your solution? Show us ALL a solution, or even just a concept that can be considered beside "stay the course". That's all BTL guy was trying to do.

I know thousands will thank you.

BTL Guy said...

With all due respect, the proposal has more than one "small advantage":

1) A stated goal of the WGA is to remain at the negotiating table with the AMPTP and prevent the DGA negotiators from starting talks before a WGA deal is ratified.

This proposal directly addresses this concern. It provides the incentive to the AMPTP to return to the table and states that, should the AMPTP start serious negotiations with the DGA, then the WGA would immediately go back on strike.

2) Not stated in the proposal, but a side benefit of the plan, would be the creation, purchase, and production of Pilot Scripts.

Many people short-sightedly believe that giving the Networks pilots is a bad thing. It isn't.

It is in the WGA's interest for the networks to produce pilots for the 2008 television season. If the networks purchase episodic orders based on WGA scripts, there will be added pressure on the networks to sign a deal and allow the 2008 season to proceed with scripted content.

If all new timeslots are given over to reality, there will be less work and less revenue for the WGA and its membership. Worse still, there would be less incentive for the AMPTP to sign a deal as they would have less to lose.

3) People will get back to work. WGA, Below The Line, everyone.

I'm sorry some people don't see this as a benefit...

---------

Finally, the WGA Strike of 2007-08 does not find a strong allegory in labor strikes of the previous century.

This is not labor vs management. This is middle management vs upper management. I know that this idea gets many writers upset, but it is not meant derogatorily.

But the ultimate concerns of this negotiation are about pay. Not the representation of Reality and Animation. Not sympathy strike clauses. Not cruel work conditions or an unsafe environment. It's really about one thing: the internet and how to get paid for it.

And on that issue, things were - at one point - tantalizingly close.

The Alliance gave the Writers jurisdiction over streaming media, albeit after too many weeks of freebie and at too low a price. But the concession was on the table. That was weeks ago.

If the WGA does nothing different, the DGA will make a deal first. If the DGA deal includes a new media provision that the WGA can live with, the strike will be over.

If the DGA deal includes a new media provision that the WGA feels isn't good enough, then the WGA is going to have a big problem on its hands.

There would be heavy pressure from both outside the WGA (folks like me, frankly -- only thousands more so) and inside Membership to provide a pretty remarkable explanation as to why the DGA deal "isn't good enough."

Maybe Verrone could make that great argument. But, realistically, it'd probably have to be a slam-dunk case to prevent serious fi-core defections.

I'm not saying my idea is the end-all, beat-all solution. But if you argue that staying the present course is the best plan, then you're throwing your chips in with the DGA.

Maybe that's not a bad thing.

But then we can only hope that the DGA gets a great deal (without striking...) and the WGA signs it, too.

Jerry Monaco said...

To PostGuy and BTL,

It is not feasible to cover all of the issues that were brought up in one post. But the questions asked, even if polemical, are very important, so I will answer them as I go along. I will also try to cross post at further length at my weblog at livejournal to expand on some of my answers.

For instance PostGuy asks: “I just want one question answered, I am not a labor genius by any stretch of the imagination, and you say you are, so please explain to me the WGA's strategy of striking when it did for best effect, leverage, and speed? In detail if you could.” I’m sure he is serious about this question but an answer to this question is fit for an article not for a weblog comment. I will try with a series of posts.

But I would also like to make a small comment about the phrasing of this question. I am not quite sure that it is a serious question. For one, if you believe there is such a thing as a “labor genius”, then I think that we probably have very little common ground philosophically. Because of this we will run into problems of understanding if a discussion continues. I simply don’t believe in these areas there is such a thing as genius. What is understandable in areas of union tactics and strategy is understandable to all people who wish it. The only prerequisite for further intelligence is an increase in common understanding and a desire for solidarity.

As long as I am on this subject I want to state my biases straight out. I am not a member of the entertainment industry and never have been. I am pro-union and believe in working-class solidarity. I will never side with the bosses. I will never side with strike-breakers. I will never cross a picket line.

Most importantly, I am in favor of an industry wide union in Hollywood that would include everybody from actors to cosmeticians, writers to carpenters, set designers to maintenance. In the long run this is the only kind of union that will be able to fight the multinational corporations that control much of the entertainment business. Let me also state my bias on something. You guys and gals are no different from factory workers or farm workers; no different than women working in a sweat-shop or women in Mississippi in a chicken parts factory. The sooner you realize that your industry is not that special the better off you will all be. There are special features of your industry but those special features are mostly a matter of cultural prominence and not a matter of industrial processes or business operations. The kind of industrial processes that occur in your industry you can also find in other industries. One thing that is a bit unique about your industry is that it contains practically all other industries and crafts under one roof, which has allowed the bosses to continually use one group of people against another to keep you from uniting.

These are my biases. For now I will answer the easiest question first:

“BTW, I've never heard of a whole City going on strike, please give me references to your comments so I may research and learn.”

I’ll stick to examples in the U.S. since in other countries such city-wide strikes and in fact nation-wide strikes are part of the knowledge of every school girl and boy. It is only in the United States that I ever have to answer this question. I am not being dismissive, I am just pointing out how low our level of common knowledge is when it comes to things like solidarity between people who work.

The San Francisco and Alameda County general strike of 1934, which led to the organization of the waterfront on the whole of the west coast. This strike should have some significance to everyone in Los Angeles and Hollywood. Some of the best leaders and organizers of the Hollywood unions were trained by this strike. Unfortunate so were some of the most brutal strike breakers like the gangsters hired at the behest of the studio heads by George Brown and Willie Bioff in the 30s and 40s to break picket lines of animation artists, carpenters, electricians, painters, and set designers. The 1934 San Francisco strike had a big effect on the anti-union open shop town of L.A. It spurred much of the organization drive of the Hollywood unions later in the 1930s. So it is a little bit disappointing that it seems to be forgotten.

The Minneapolis General Strike of 1934, which began with the Teamsters, but resulted in a city-wide strike, and in the organization of most major industries in Minneapolis, plus some minor industries such as restaurant workers. A small fact about the Minneapolis strike: It began with an attempt to organize over the road truck drivers many of whom owned their own trucks. The bosses refused to deal with the owner-operators because they designated them as “non-employees”. The Teamster leadership in Minneapolis


The Seattle strike of 1919, which again began in the ship yards.

I could also mention general strikes in mid-size towns before and after World War II. These were mostly industrial towns and very few people ever paid attention. But they are important to your industry because of how a few of these strikes were defeated. It was in places like the steel towns in Penn and industrial towns in upstate NY that anti-red blacklists were instituted to purge unions, which would later be used effectively in your industry. In these towns a new kind of strike breaking was instituted, which involved massive use of radio, cinema, and later television. These strike-breaking and union busting methods were set up with the full cooperation of the Hollywood bosses as well as Madison Avenue types.

I will write more later and more to the point of the questions about your industry. I apologize for writing at such length, but the questions you ask simply cannot be answered without a sense of historical background.

Jerry Monaco

BTL Guy said...

Jerry,

I appreciate your comments and the seriousness with which you approach this strike and the rationale behind it.

But, and I'm truly not trying to be flippant about this, I have to take into account the bias that you put forth, namely the lines about:

"I will never side with the bosses. I will never side with strike-breakers. I will never cross a picket line. "

I understand the thought process, but your devotion to the Union Ideal presupposes, if not an infallibility of leadership, then at the very least the idea that no matter how bad leadership is, it is always and without question better than management.

The problem is that sometimes (not necessarily in the WGA's case), a Union boss' own goals can supersede the needs and goals of it's membership.

I personally feel that the timing of the strike was a massive blunder, and a move that WGA leadership could have avoided if not for their own hubris.

This move has had massively negative effects on many hundreds, if not thousands, of workers who were less able to sustain themselves through a strike than were the Writers themselves. Perhaps more importantly, the action caused undo harm to the Membership (if you buy, as many - but not all -do, that a better course of action was to delay a strike).

Once the strike has occurred, then, it becomes the responsibility of all those affected by it to help bring it to a swift end.

There's no point crying over spilt milk, but there's no point in staring at the puddle getting bigger and bigger if instead you can get a mop or a towel.

Having said all of this, though, I truly appreciate your erudition and I look forward to reading your posts.

Post Guy said...

Jerry,

Thank you for the very detailed response, looking forward to more of your insight. Let me first respond by posting a comment I made to a WGA writer friend of mine.


"I am all for an industry wide Association in partnership with the WGA, DGA, SAG, IA, Teamsters etc. (Just watching the in-fighting of such an association would truly be entertaining all on it's own, probably a decent reality show)

All joking aside.........

Power in numbers is the way to win these."



So, I agree with you 100 percent in your concept, Power In Numbers. In reality, AMPTP "separated and conquered" decades ago with each of our separated guilds.

In lieu of our Entertainment Union, which can't happen over night, we need alternatives. As you, I have never crossed a picket line, and never will. I drove by, around, and over (never did return to some) every grocery store that was part of our latest strike here in LA. I do believe in my union and what it stands for. I was initiated into IATSE at just 18 years of age, and knew nothing of what was fought before me, and more importantly.........for me.

Unfortunately, at this point, the IA workers, such as myself, are bearing the true brunt of this war (and it is war). The WGA knew this going in, and why our President, while supporting the ideals of this strike, is critical of the timing and way it has been handled. Some say AMPTP has the IA "in it's pocket", but it is also happens to be the view of every IA worker I know personally, especially those in television who were immediately affected. That is the result of separated unions, agreed.

And I thank you for the history. Admittedly, I know nothing about it, and should. I have done some studying, and will do more. Basically it started as a West Coast longshoreman’s strike, and was later joined by every union in the Bay area. But, was only 83 total days in length, and only 4 days were the general strike. From what I am reading, it was ugly, it was extremely violent, even the National Guard was brought in, and many lives were lost. However, a quick, calculated, and deadly strike to the enemy. Shock and Awe, and exactly what the Industry was expecting next June. Yes, the WGA leaders went against the popular thought and went early, you could even say a Pearl Harbor type attack. But I still don't see to what real gain in this current climate; unless the plan is to wait it out not in months, but years.

All that aside, my point still here is the same, war in numbers. Though 75 years old, those fights are an excellent example. You proved it with your history as the four-day general strike basically ended it. And maybe that is what you are indeed proposing, and at least is a strategy that will end this. Short of that, since (in my opinion) the WGA jumped the gun by 7 months, the Truce proposal is the next best thing. There is cease-fire in war, (a carefully controlled and confirmed cease-fire) how is that different here?

By my calculations, staying the course puts us July/August at the earliest, and may still be going next Christmas.

Is there a better way?

Thanks, and looking forward to your next posting.