12/12/2007

David Young: Where We Are Now

Statement from Chief Negotiator David Young and the WGA Negotiating Committee.

We have attempted to negotiate with the AMPTP companies since July. First they ignored our opening proposals. Then they told us we had to choose between their two horrible proposals. Then we removed DVDs from the table. Their response was to walk out of negotiations and tell the press that we were the ones who walked. Last week they presented us with another set of ultimatums. They didn’t even wait for a reply but broke off negotiations and walked out again.

There is a strategy at work here.

In any negotiation there are bottom line goals and “fringe” goals. The AMPTP wants to make the WGA reduce our demands to the bottom line so we’ll negotiate down from an acceptable deal to a bad deal If we do this, as we did with DVDs, you can be sure they would not hand us the deal we want. They would simply try to further wear us down.

If the AMPTP was serious they would make us a good offer on the “real” issues and the strike would end pretty damn fast. There’d be no choice. But that’s not what they want. They are still trying to create division within our ranks so they can force us to take a cheap deal.

We know this. We expect it. It’s business.

Our only weapons against these tactics are to increase our pressure on the companies and remain united and resolved. The negotiating committee is not crazy. The guild is not scared or divided over the principles of this strike. We are simply insisting that the AMPTP start real negotiations. Until then we must stand together. The stronger we are, the faster this will end. It’s that simple and it’s that hard.

Don’t be confused by the rhetoric. We all know what this negotiation is about. It’s about new media and our future. We have issues on the table that are negotiable, just like the AMPTP does. The difference is that we don’t issue ultimatums.

These are difficult times but we know that our membership has the resolve to see this through.

In the meantime, we are making sure that the advertisers, the investors, the fans, FCC regulators, political leaders and the Hollywood community understand that the other side walked out and we remain willing to negotiate. We are confident that there are individual companies willing to make a fair deal with us. The WGA West Board and Negotiating Committee members will be on all the picket lines tomorrow to answer your questions and hear directly from you.

47 comments:

embers said...

In spite of the lies, and the fact that the networks control the news, the truth is getting out. The public is not as stupid as the AMPTP seems to think, we can look at the lies, misinformation, and fuzzy math and guess who is being upfront in these negotiations.
The AMPTP puts ugly 'spins' on events, concerts, fan picketing, and they try to accuse the writers of being uncaring. But in fact the AMPTP are the ones who forced this strike, who are prolonging it, and the networks and studios are the ones getting people laid off from work.

They would love for the writers to be quiet, they would love for the public to be unaware that there is a strike: that would suit their purposes very well. So I say that you should make as much noise as possible! Invite the fans to come and march, schedule any band that is willing to play, make noise and force the press to pay attention!

SOLIDARITY!

John Brownlow said...

I have been critical of the WGA leadership but this was well put.

Stel said...

May I ask why DVDs were taken off the table? Since we got nothing in return, why don't you just put 'em back on the table, if anything just to watch their heads explode in a remake of Scanners?

QuoterGal said...

I continue to be impressed by the writers and their resolve. I was at a few Burbank studios yesterday, being involved in the fan part of the showrunner/fan attempt to deliver pencils to studio moguls, and there were plenty of writers picketing, tons of energy and very unified & intelligent conversation about the strike and the AMPTP's tactics. David Young's assessment of the current situation pretty much nails it, and I'm really starting to get that these writers can pull it off.

Fans are doing what they can to help, but everyone who knows about this ongoing struggle needs to do what they can to spread the word around so that the moguls increasingly feel the heat from refusing to negotiate sensibly and fairly. The PR battle is a battle the AMPTP has been unable to win, despite owning most of the major media, which almost makes me believe again that the truth will out.

We're in the thick of it now, and the moguls are doing what they do best, which is trying to squeeze a deal 'til it screams - but writers are also doing what they do best, which is imagining it differently in order to make it so. I'd put my money on the writers this time.

Oh, and real fans support the writers. I'll be at the BTL benefit on Friday at UCLA to spread some of that support around to the others folks that have been hit pretty hard by the strike.

Pamela Jaye said...

I just read in this article
http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv/2007/12/12/2007-12-12_greys_anatomy_cast_joins_writers_picket_.html

that the WGA "walked away from the table" (or talks, forget which)

just thought you might like to disabuse them of their error, but you'd have to know it was there first. (pissed me off when I read it)

hang in there. way past my bedtime here on the east coast

Pamela Jaye said...

that was
http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment
/tv/2007/12/12/2007-12-12_
greys_anatomy_cast_joins_writers
_picket_.html

aphollywood said...

hang in there you guys. the stinkin trades are claiming there's all sorts of dissent brewing, but I hope that's mostly bs. we actors will continue to support you, and let's hope that the directors, if they insist on jumping into the middle of this, insist on terms that will make it easier for all of us to get at least some of what we want. i'm sick and tired of the corporate greed that is ruining this business.

JimBob said...

http://podcast.mktw.net/wsj/audio/20071210/pod-wsjwingfield/pod-wsjwingfield.mp3

JimBob said...

The podcast linked in the previous post comprises an informed opinion on the timing of New Media and its profitability. I agree with "stel" that DVD's should be put back on the table, as they are a continuing source of income for the time being.
DVD's were taken off the table due to a treacherous, dishonest promise by the companies to negotiate in good faith. It didn't happen. At the time, Patric Verrone said "All bets are off," and I assumed that meant the silver disks were once again an issue. Why not?

Bill said...

Well the DGA just sent a letter off to it's DGA/WGA members stating that it will persue negotiations with hope of a traditional January deal.

The letter:

Dear Member,
We didn't want to let too much time go by before we answered your letter. We want you to know this response comes from our heartfelt understanding of the difficult times we are all in together.

The DGA Negotiations Committee had its fourth meeting yesterday and we discussed your letter. We mention this so you will understand that this response reflects the very open discussion we had with your fellow Guild members.

To begin with, we understand the importance of new media and its potential impact on all our futures -- and on those who follow us. DGA has spent close to 18 months developing research, meeting with outside experts, and talking to our members about these issues. They have been discussed by the Board and the Negotiations Committee for well over a year.

We understand well the importance of protecting our members. We will not rest until our members get a fair and equitable deal for the work they create in both old and new media. Since its founding, the Guild has consistently fought hard for that goal. For more than 70 years we have managed, often without fanfare, to negotiate good deals for all of us and we are proud of the strength of our Basic Agreement. We have no intention of letting our members down or betraying the rights of the directors who went before us. There is a reason that few in the industry ever accuse the DGA or its members of being pushovers. We've never been that and we don't plan to start now.

This issue is not between the DGA and the WGA. To make that the fight only strengthens the other side. But sharing a goal is not the same as sharing tactics and strategy. And our differing views of the best way to achieve our goals may lead us to act differently. Traditionally our negotiations start early and usually are done by January. This has been our pattern for the past 20 years for a very simple reason: We believe -- and our experience shows -- that this is the most effective way to negotiate the best deal. The WGA has made a different decision on how to handle their negotiations. Out of respect for them, we have done what you asked for in your letter -- we have refrained from commencing our own negotiations. And, at the same time we have refrained from commenting publicly on our thoughts about the direction of their proposals and the progress of their negotiations.

But the reality is that WGA and the AMPTP have been meeting since July -- and, despite a strike that has put tens of thousands of people out of work, they seem nowhere near reaching a deal. Each passing day, more people are unemployed. We are getting calls from members who are worried about their economic livelihood and their families. We're sure you feel the same concern for yourselves and the people who work for you.

Because so much time has gone by without any resolution, we find ourselves faced with some hard questions. Is a fresh perspective -- and additional muscle -- needed to get the job done? Is it our turn to sit across the table from the AMPTP? What we know is that we cannot abdicate our responsibility to our members by putting their fate in the hands of another union whose tactics and strategy we have not been able to influence. Our members expect the Guild to fight for them when things get tough. We promised all of you we would do that in our most recent membership letter. We believe this is the essence of responsible unionism, which is the least you and all our members have a right to expect from us.

Sincerely,

Michael Apted
DGA President

Gil Cates
Chair, DGA Negotiations Committee

Jay D. Roth
DGA National Executive Director

Captain Obvious said...

That's not what it says, but what it implies.


May not be the worst thing in the world, though, it'll definitely ratchet up the tension in Nick and the Gang™'s panties a bit...

Sam said...

I am heartened by this excellent letter.

~ said...

California's present governor gained office partly on the hope (promise?) that he would create an economic environment and incentives that would end the movie industries' runaway production to Canada.
Now, just like our national scenario, we find an enemy is within. Isn't there a plan to end this attack against people who want to work, and can't? When does the economic devastation reach a level where action is taken to end it? ----Where's Arnold?---

-Su V.

Smarter said...

Everyone is greedy in Hollywood, including the writers. It also sounds like the DGA is gonna make a deal and screw over the WGA. And the picket lines look so dreary and wimpy now. Maybe if they brought out Herman Miller Aeron chairs for all the writers they would do some better picketing. Oh, and I wonder how many writers will have their pilots ready for the studios the minute the strike is over. And how many writers have stopped going to the movies, or buying DVDs, or not bought any Sony electronics, or read People magazine, or, or, or... the list could go on. The strike is a joke and is just hurting a lot of people's lives. You worried about corporate greed??? How many writers are corporations?? Exactly, they are greedy too. I'm sure the workers at the local grocery chain wish they were making the kind of money the leadership in the company do. I think Shakespeare, who was a real writer unlike what they call writers in Hollywood, said it best, "A plague on both your houses!"

DigiTol said...

I am from Holland and i watch the progress very closely.
I support the strike and hope the writers get what they want.

AMPTP give up the money you got enough, you drive in big cars and live in big houses.

Greg said...

According to Nikki Finke (http://www.deadlinehollywooddaily.com/) CBS's CEO Les Moonves has given himself a huge payment increase (I didn't think this salary could be that high !)
Can't writers, actors, directors and other workers of the movies & tv just work without them ? Maybe it's time to think about a new system, it sure would be easier with new medias.
Studios eat the largest amount of this industry's profits while creative and artistic crew are the basis of it all.

(sorry for my english, I just hope I was clear enough to be understood)

Trey said...

Smarter said...
I'm sure the workers at the local grocery chain wish they were making the kind of money the leadership in the company do.


So... either you don't live in Los Angeles, or you somehow don't remember the 2004 grocery workers' strike? Kinda hard to miss it - it lasted five months.

But the grocery workers weren't striking to "make the kind of money the leadership" did - they struck because management asked them to accept a new contract that gave them less than they were making already.

Same reason the writers are on strike now, come to think of it. Or maybe the grocery workers were just "being greedy"?

After all, the median income for a grocery worker in Los Angeles is 20,000 per year. The median income for a WGA member is 5,000 per year.

So - since you're such a champion of the working man, you should be on the side of the writers, not those fatcat grocery clerks.

And you'll also be happy to know that in the end, the corporations won the grocery strike - the greedy striking workers gave up and signed that lower-paying contract they struck against to begin with. See, the system works!

QuoterGal said...

@"smarter" - not really sure why the writers should have stopped going to movies or buying DVDs - there's no rule that says such boycotts are good policy. As a fan, I see no reason whatsoever to boycott the purchase of DVDs, thus screwing the writers out of the few cents they do get from "home video" sale. People Magazine?? Not sure what you're talking about there, but it's hardly relevant...

Not sure what picket lines you've been looking at, either - the ones I've been looking at are big and noisy, and increasingly joined by fans and other folks... Yeah, sorry - not buying it. The strike's no joke, it's deadly serious and hardly "greedy" to be on strike for a living wage for future generations of writers, as a part of the struggling labor movement as a whole in the USA, as well as to ensure continued residual payments which help fund other trade unions health and pension plans.

You need to do a little reading up on the facts - may I direct you to http://www.fans4writers.com/strike.shtml - or almost anywhere there's actual information on what it is that the writers are asking for? You can skip the AMPTP's site, though - it's rather fantastickal for a site written without benefit of actual fantasy writers...

Jeffrey said...

While I do support the writer and their cause, I don't support the strike. This strike is going to be costly just like the 1988 strike which caused entertainment industry to lose 10% of their viewer. If this strike isn't resolved soon people will move on to other forms of entertainment and TVs and Films will lose a lot of audiences.

About internet residuals, even if the writers get the deal-alot of people pirate the videos and get them from like torrents and p2p file shares instead get of getting it legally, I mean why steam or pay for some video when you get it for free and watch it anytime you.

It can't be stopped, as long as studio keep producing films and tv shows people will find a way to get it for free

Lorelei said...

We're with you, David. It's five a.m. and I'm ready to head down to Sony. We'll keep at it for as long as it takes.

dp said...

July was too late David. The strategy didn't work. Every other guild and union knew that and told you the same. The overwhelming consensus is it didn't work and was predicted to fail in the form of a work stoppage. The WGA could have started negotiating with the Amptp a year earlier. The WGA has no excuse for the delay. So, when the DGA wants to negotiate to prevent a strike, don't bash them. The DGA is not screwing the WGA. The WGA is screwing the WGA. Your lack of humility in even admitting this is akin to the Bush administrations handling of the Iraq war. "If we admit that we we're wrong then it undermines our troops. Any voice of dissent or criticism is un-American." Come on!. Fascism in the WGA?

I want the WGA to get residuals. I don't think that corporations should reap the benefit of an artists work. If that work is strong enough that people want to see it over and over, then pay the artist for it. Go back to the percentage based proposal. It makes the most sense for both sides.

What about the collusion argument? Why isn't that being pursued?

Why can't we go back to the fed and ask that they force a restart on the negotiations?

David Grenier said...

Trey - While the UFCW "lost" the 2004 strike, they actually managed to get a much better contract next time around. Quite possibly because the companies didn't feel like going through another strike.

David Grenier said...

jeffrey,

I'm not sure what your argument is. Writers shouldn't expect to get paid for their work because you are going to pirate it anyway? Is that why my local Best Buy is full of DVDs, as is the Circuit City next door, and the Newbury Comics down the street? All those Netflix envelopes that arrive at my house, what are in those? I forget.

Look, the point is that as long as studios want to make money off the writers work, the writers have the right to demand decent payment for the work. Bittorrent has nothing to do with it.

Rodney Peterson said...

I'm a writer who will soon be a member of the WGA and I began picketing with the WGA writers when I realized I could and it was in my best interest. My first day on the lines I met David Young and I really liked the guy-I remember as he was driving by the Fox Galaxy Gate after addressing a small group of us he laid on his horn like a truck driver spotting a topless blonde in a convertible and waving-his enthusiasm was very encouraging and he was quite upbeat and professional as he addressed our small group-he made special note of me that he had seen me at the lines at 6:30 that morning (this was close to 2 when picketing at Fox was done for the day) and thanked me for the support and made me feel like I really had tapped into something special in my decision to join my fellow writers on the picket line. It's pretty obvious David can do this with all of us behind him. As a non WGA writer I've recently started a blog of my own-as it turns out for more than one purpose-the first was to post my film treatment for the film and book project I am writing entitled Cutting Confessions and then I realized it would also be a terrific place to write about my thoughts as I join my fellow writers and other entertainment professionals and the fans supporting us on the picket line and we all press forward in solidarity. You can view my thoughts and the film treatment at

www.cuttingconfessionsfilm.blogspot.com

and I would be honored if you would. I never planned on becoming a writer-it was fate that has led to all of this-but now that I am I realize I am in privileged and rarefied company and couldn't be more proud of the girls and guys I see on the line-some of whom are household names and wouldn't have to do this at all but they apparently are just as proud of their profession and fellow writers as I am and want all of them and future generations of writers to prosper far into the future by their and all of our actions today.

Rodney Peterson

hollarback said...

Everyday I direct people to this site and to youtube. And then those friends share the information with their circles. People want to know what is going on. And when they find out, they are pretty angry at how those in power, those who created the situation, the AMPTP, are acting.

Fellow fans: this holiday season, help the union members that you can, the BTL and WGA that are hurting, and spread the news to everyone you can. Worldwide.

If the writers have no voice - who does?

Smarter said...

trey,
First off, do you know how much a production assistant averages on a TV show or movie? They average about $19,000 a year, without benefits, and that is when they can find work. A grocery worker in Los Angeles averages about $45,000 a year with benefits. The WGA member who is making an average of $5,000 a year, what are they depending on being a writer for? Do what everyone else does, get a second job to pay your bills and live within your means. Because that production assistant who makes nothing and is treated like nothing gets a job in between entertainment gigs to make money.

quotergal
People magazine is owned by Time Warner, one of the companies that the WGA is striking against. The WGA went on strike to hurt the profits of these companies, so if you are buying People Magazine, you are supporting the company. The same as if you buy a Sony TV, or buy any GE electronic, or if you are a member of Myspace. These are all things that are owned by the conglomerate companies that the WGA is striking against. So yes, this is relevant to the strike.

JimBob said...

"So, when the DGA wants to negotiate to prevent a strike, don't bash them."

dp, I wish they were negotiating to prevent a strike. I wish they were NOT negotiating until our strike was over, which would make it over much quicker. By easing their own pain, they're like a writer who goes fi-core. "we had to do it." No, they didn't. And more people will suffer because they did.

dp said...

Hello again Jimbob-

If the DGA has a proven 20 year record for getting their deals locked early and getting what their members want, then why shouldn't they? The DGA has already come out and said they don't agree with WGA strategy. Why should they let the WGA strategy jeopardize what they have proven in the past to be able to get for their members? Following a bad plan is not in their interest. Anyone who thinks, the only way is the WGA way, is perpetuating a fascist mentality. My guess is SAG will do the same thing.

The DGA and SAG's goal is to get a new contract and get it done well in advance of the expiration of their current contracts. To avoid a strike on behalf of their guilds. The WGA chose not to play that game, instead waiting till the last minute and starting with an angry tone. They have their plan and you have yours. Are there no checks and balances at the WGA? Everyone votes that they would like a new contract or strike, but they have no say in the strategy?

JimBob said...
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JimBob said...

DP, you've come close to proving Godwin's law, i.e. "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one."

That's beside the point, but notable.

What is the inherent good in having one's contract settled before expiration? Lack of anxiety? The ability of the companies to be certain of a steady workflow? Well, great. But how about looking at the overall good of the industry and those who work in it? Has the DGA done the calculus for estimating how much longer the WGA strike may last if directors do not add what pressure they can add upon the companies? If they can help shorten the strike by a couple of weeks, why not do it? What, again, is the benefit of having your deal in the bag five months early? I have to say, it does begin to seem like a thumb in the eye of the WGA, unless someone can explain to me why having a deal five months early is worth two weeks, a week, a day of Hollywood shut down. Including directors who sit idle without scripts to direct. It's loopy, man.

btw, the WGA didn't wait until the last minute. They waited until the same time frame relative to the expiration of their contract that the DGA has. The angry tone you heard was the result of a willingness to bargain thrown back in one's face for months. The DGA isn't going to make their contract because they started early; they'll make it because the makeup of their membership doesn't put an emphasis on payments for reuse. SAG leadership has to get residuals in new media for its members; I'm not sure what makes you so sure they'll be able to zip up a deal quickly.

As for checks and balances, WGA members have plenty of opportunity to make their thoughts and feelings heard. The channels to leadership are very open. Is there something that makes you think the current strategy -- regrettably necessitated by high-handed, dismissive behavior from the companies -- is somehow being shoved down our unwilling throats?

QuoterGal said...

"smarter": "People magazine is owned by Time Warner, one of the companies that the WGA is striking against. The WGA went on strike to hurt the profits of these companies, so if you are buying People Magazine, you are supporting the company. The same as if you buy a Sony TV, or buy any GE electronic, or if you are a member of Myspace. These are all things that are owned by the conglomerate companies that the WGA is striking against. So yes, this is relevant to the strike."

We're all pretty aware here who owns what in this town & beyond, and if anyone would like to read up on the Big Six et al. they can visit this most excellent site: http://stopbigmedia.com/chart.php.

Meanwhile, back to the issue at hand - the writers' strike. Of course with huge conglom's owning just about everything, just about everything is inter-connected - are writers not supposed to buy light bulbs for the duration of the strike because they were made by GE? Are they being hypocritical because they buy a copy of a paper owned by News Corp?

Kinda ridiculous...

Pinpoint-targeted & highly public boycotts can be effective in publicizing a strike or making a struck company feel the pinch. Simply stopping the purchase of something that is owned by a company controlled by a conglom which is connected to a struck company - is as pointless as not voting and then fooling yourself into believing you are registering a "protest vote" by not voting. It doesn't support the main effort one iota. And it's also kinda the old, "But how can you protest the slaughter of whales when you're wearing a leather belt?" argument - that somehow you can't make a point one way because you're not making another more drastic point - a pretty simplistic and unfocused political unerstanding.

But that's okay - you didn't really think it made political sense, did you? You were just fishing around to try and find something else to trash the writers with.

Knock yourself out - but it's hardly "smarter."

dp said...

JImbob-

I never said Nazi anywhere. I said fascist mentality. If you want to then run with that and project or expand defined groups to fit your arguement then you own that. Why not use Mousolini's Italy, or Bush's republican right wing? That's just silly.

The DGA is probabily thinking it would like to start its negotiation without any antigonism. Pretty smart considering it didn't work for the WGA. They probably will get it settled faster that way and get more for their members. Also, they might have considered the collateral damage a strike would cause on BTL and others. Maybe they don't want their name synonymous with that kind of press. Your right, their wants and needs are different from yours, which is more to the point.

Way back in 2006 Amptp wanted to start talks but Young decided to use a stall tactic and play it as close to the end date as he could, while envisioning he could pull it off. Wrong. An antagonistic move, to put a deadline threat of strike and then to take a strike vote on it before talks could be completed. Everyone knew this was going to be a complex contract that would take time, Amptp, IATSE, everyone. Tom Short(corporate crony - I'll be the first to admit it) looks like a clairvoyant here. Every single thing he said would happen from this stall tactic has come to fruition. You at least have to give him that. Young made Short look like a genius, no small task.

hollarback said...

Smarter, why did you pick one of the lowest paid jobs of the industry (PA) and then contrast it with a high paying grocery job? Why not compare a starting position job in BOTH industries? Maybe use a trainee cashier as a comparative model. That way it's an accurate comparison and not as rigged. Or did you intend it that way?

BTL Guy said...

Jimbob,

To add to what DP is saying (and to somehow channel Martha Stewart), the DGA starting its negotiations is a GOOD thing.

AMPTP is not at the table with WGA. You and they are miles apart.

A major part of the failure to communicate is the AMPTP's need to negotiate three separate deals with three giant unions whose contract expire within 8 months of each other.

WGA expired first and chose to strike right away.

No one outside of WGA thought this would end quickly because any deal that AMPTP gave to WGA would only be a starting point for the other two guilds.

If DGA begins negotiations now, that will solve a big negative for AMPTP in terms of future uncertainty.

This is good for everyone.

If DGA signs some sort of crap deal (I'm not sure why you think they would, but assume so for now), WGA is under no obligation to sign a similar one.

As an added bonus, if DGA leaves money on the table, WGA can point to it and say "gimme!"

And if the DGA signs a good deal, pattern bargaining means you guys are instantly that much closer to the contract you want.

This is not a "thumb in the eye" by the DGA. I think they clearly took the letter writing campaign under serious consideration.

They chose to do what is best for their membership (and, I would argue, what it best for working Hollywood).

WGA chose a different course of action, based on what they thought was best for their membership.

You shouldn't hope to dictate direction to another guild any more than you would wish it dictated to your own.

Geo Rule said...

Thanks to Bill for sharing the DGA letter.

I understand why it gets folks knickers in a knot to have another player enter the field, but frankly I just don't see the DGA "selling out". I think its much more likely that AMPTP is going to hear another strong voice insisting on an equitable deal on these issues.

The "precedent" issue cuts in both directions, and I think it much more likely to cut in WGA's favor than against it if DGA makes a deal they find acceptable.

JimBob said...
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JimBob said...

dp and btl, this is getting us nowhere, as I'm sure you agree. When I hear a statement like, "The AMPTP wanted to start talks in 2006," and I see what their idea of "talking" is today, I wonder what planet you're on. Are you maintaining that the companies have been open to a genuinely productive strike-averting series of talks but because (in your opinion) the WGA took an argumentative tone, the AMPTP has decided to stonewall, mislead, play mind games and generally be dishonest about their true intentions? Come on, they're business people, not kindergartners. If they're playing mindfuck it's because that's their strategy and has been all along.

When one of you says that the DGA taking pressure off the AMPTP by making an early deal is good for the industry, I don't know how to respond. Of course, you don't back that up with anything -- any more than the people who like George W. Bush can cite his accomplishments -- but personal belief is a powerful thing and I can see I'm not going to persuade you, even though I'll try: tell me again why having a deal five months in advance is worth extending the WGA strike as much as a week or a day? Every bit of pressure on the AMPTP will shorten the current strike as well as lessen the possibility that a tired AMPTP that has just made concessions in a brutal strike will want to weather another one. Can you give me a logical argument contradicting that claim?

I'm gonna go do something else now. I'm sure you're as tired of trying to get through to me as I am of trying to get through to you. I wish us all well, in any case -- all of us.

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

Check out Bob Elisberg on HuffPost. Maybe he can succeed where I've failed. He's much smarter than I am.

BTL Guy said...

Jimbob,

I think the most important issue is in this particular debate is the current state of affairs with the WGA-AMPTP negotiation.

If AMPTP were at the table, if you guys were anywhere close to a deal with them, then DGA stepping up and drawing them away from the table would be a bad thing. They would be, as you point out, delaying a WGA deal and prolonging the strike.

But you guys aren't talking. The AMPTP can stay away from the table for months if they think it's the best course of action.

DGA has historically had a better relationship with the AMPTP and tends to resolve contract issues early.

I simply don't see how one can possibly argue against the DGA entering the fray and possibly getting some pattern bargaining issues resolved at a time when the AMPTP is not talking to you and clearly won't for the foreseeable future.

And yes, we may simply have to agree to disagree on this one. What is clear is that we all share a common ground of hoping for a fair contract for WGA and a swift resolution to the strike.

We disagree on tactics, but not on the hoped-for outcome.

I share your well wishes for all of us.

dp said...

Jimbob-

I am not saying that the only reason the Amptp is acting like a petulant child is because they were treated to the cantankerous WGA pre-talk tone. I am saying that it probably didn't help.

Let me see if I can clarify why everyone negotiates with the Amptp as early as they can. First you have to understand corporate culture. Lots of people with responsibility but none with the authority to actually approve anything. They have to take everything back to the corporations and then they have to decide in unison. Imagine how hard that is and how many people that involves. Again adding more people who are afraid to make a real decision versus the WGA which is smaller and more nimble. The Amptp is like the retarded kid. If the short bus shows up at 8am you better walk Corky to the bus stop by 7am or you're gonna be late.

Geo Rule said...

WGA has been saying loudly that a good deal by WGA helps everyone. And, quite frankly, the logic of that is pretty compelling. What I don't see is why that logic doesn't apply just as equally to DGA making a good deal. . . it will help everyone else.

Now, if you think DGA will be a lap poodle for AMPTP, then I can see your concern. But I don't see any reason to think that will happen. DGA isn't stupid. They must know that now is the time, and that having the writers out over the same issues is the time to get these things resolved favorably, rather than trying at a later date entirely by themselves.

Gumby said...

I couldn't find any way to contacts the writers...of this blog and the writers who are on strike so I'll just put it here. I am a member of the International Socialist Organization and I live in Madison WI. We publish a weekly alternative newspaper which is also available online at www.socialistworker.org
We have been covering the WGA strike for awhile now I wish to express my total solidarity with what you are doing. We have been talking to the other activists we know about what you are doing. You are showing American proletariat the power that workers really do have. This fight may be one of the most important ever.

Smarter said...

hollarback -

I was responding to a statement by Trey, that is why I mentioned grocery workers, which by the way, a starting position can be $18 - $25 an hour, compared to a starting PA position being at about $8 an hour.

quotergal -

It isn't such a ridiculous idea to expect people to completely boycott a struck company. Are you telling me that no one else besides GE makes light bulbs? You can't get all 12,000 WGA members to cancel their Myspace pages? I'm sure that even if only 12,000 people canceled their Myspace page that it would make an impact. You don't think that if at least 12,000 people canceled their People, Time, Entertainment Weekly, Fortune, et al magazines that it wouldn't make a difference? Especially when all 12,000 call to cancel and when asked why, they state, "In support of the WGA." It's a dent in their profits. Yeah, maybe a small one, but seems like a better idea to me than giving them a bunch of pencils. This is not like "not voting" as a protest vote. When you don't vote, your inaction accomplishes nothing. Your inaction of not purchasing something (especially if all 12,000 WGAw members participated, or in this instance didn't participate) accomplishes the goal of hurting profits.

Skinny said...

I agree with embers that "The public is not as stupid as the AMPTP seems to think.."

I'm nothing more than a fan of a little show called Heroes. What directed me to research what's going on hits very close to the reason this is happening. I log into Netflix, enter the "Watch Instantly" section and look for the next episode of my favorite show, Heroes. It's not there. Why? .. I ask myself, has it been canceled?

Google search -> Writers Strike!

Ohhhh yeaaa.. I should have known. OK, so it took me a little longer than the average watcher to realize, but then again, Heroes is the ONLY show I watch faithfully. I called my mother and ".. oh yes, Desperate Housewives is kaput because of the strike.. ".

I made an agreement with my mother, the "loud mouth" that taught me everything there was to know about being a "loud mouth", to keep this on our minds when having normal conversation with coworkers and friends. I personally put a piece of tape over my watch face to make it harder to read, reminding me of the time our REAL entertainment providers are spending on the picket lines.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out who the middle man is here. If these big time producers think they can fool the public into thinking THEY can make these shows happen without the artistic ability of their writers, they're in for a very rude awakening.

Cheers Writers! We're with you!

Ramauld said...

As an out of work editor's guild member with absolutely nothing to gain from the WGA strike, the DGAs negotiations or SAGs support of this disaster, I can tell you that soon it won't matter if my light bulbs are GE or from Rupert Murdoch's private stash. Because my electricity will be turned off! Just a bit of a push to get people back on track. It's not all about the writers and their internet residuals. It's about families that are being used as pawns in a rich man's game.

$5000 a year? I know that guy. He writes when he can, but don't tell me he's a full time writer. Just the average income that guild members take in from their writing.

I write scripts too, but I guess that makes me a broke writer! Nope it makes me an assistant editor with a bunch of bad scripts that don't sell.

Sorry it has to be said. Not so Merry Christmas this year.

Ramauld said...

After reading that last comment, I think I came off as way too grumpy. I did not intend to wish everyone a not so merry Christmas; I meant, WE ARE ALL going to have a not so merry Christmas.

It's early, and we're all stressed. It's been a month and a half and the unemployment office's inability to handle the amount of claims has led to $0 so far. Lots of my colleagues are in the same boat. But I must not make this about me or my below-the-line friends in post production. That would just make me a troll, and I do not wish to do that.

I do hope that the writers get what they're fighting for, and more to the point, I hope that all parties can spend more time with legitimate, good-faith negotiations with all of the industry workers interests in mind.

I guess I am just a little overwhelmed with all the hype and spin when no real solid information is coming forward. It gets frustrating.

Anyway, best to all.