2/10/2008

Members Email: Contract Update

This was just sent by WGA West President Patric Verrone to membership:

Dear Fellow Members,

I am are pleased to inform you that this morning the WGA Negotiating Committee unanimously and unconditionally recommended the terms of the proposed 2008 MBA to the WGAW Board and WGAE Council. The Board and Council then voted unanimously to recommend the contract, and to submit it to the joint membership of WGAW and WGAE for ratification. The ratification vote will take place over the next few weeks by mail ballot and at a special membership meeting. You will receive ballot materials and a notice of informational meetings during the next week.

There is, however, another issue to address: whether to lift the restraining order, and end the strike, during the ratification process. We are asking the members to decide this issue. A vote will take place on Tuesday, February 12, 2008.

A yes vote means you are voting to end the strike immediately; a no vote means you are voting to continue the strike during the ratification process.

Ballots can be cast at the Guild Theater from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. If you aren’t able to cast a ballot in person, proxy ballots can be downloaded at http://www.wga.org/contract_07/proxy-2008.pdf and faxed. Proxy ballots and voting instructions are at wga.org. Until the votes are counted, we are still on strike. We will announce the vote count on Tuesday night.

There will be no picketing Monday or Tuesday: all pickets are suspended until the WGA membership votes to either end or continue the strike.

Thank you for your solidarity and support. We are all in this together.

Best,

Patric M. Verrone
President, WGAW

NOTE: WGAE voting takes place Tuesday from 4-7 PM at the Crowne Plaza on 49th and Broadway. Proxy ballots are on WGAE.org and must be returned to Guild East headquarters. Full info and proxy ballot are available on WGAEast.org.

41 comments:

Still in shock said...

Well... I came to the meeting to be convinced, and I left... horrified. And I regret deeply not speaking up with my concerns at the meeting -- a feeling I bet others share.

Let me preface this by saying I love all of the board and Negcom guys. They've been dealing with these monsters for months and I applaud them. Truly. They deserve our respect and gratitude and they have mine. And maybe they are right, that they looked into the eyes of these guys and knew that this was the best that we could get... I just don't happen to believe it.

We have been played like children by these sociopaths throughout this entire ordeal. What I came away from the meeting with was knowing that we got screwed out of favored nations status in writing at the last minute, are trusting to a handshake(!) any increases made by SAG in their contract, and are excluded from getting any DVD money if they get more.

Even one of the board members flat out admitted it to a questioner last night: We just sold the internet for a year for a max of 1600 dollars. That's including foreign. With a 17 day window that all of the board members said they were really worried by.

So, basically, after 17 days of FREE usage, they could run an episode of Lost, all day, every day, for an entire year, all over the world -- even run it as the little ticker at the bottom of the CNN screen if they chose, and the most that writer would get is --1600 bucks. Does that seem like a fair deal in any universe? And this will be the platform that we work from forever. Just like the terrible DVD model we're STILL living with.

I was almost ashamed to be a member of the WGA last night. We had a chance to strike shoulder to shoulder with SAG, shut down the Oscars, and threaten 8 billion dollars in ad revenue at the upfronts... none of which the networks would have let happen, and instead we let ourselves be punked out of fear. This was not the moment of greatest leverage for us. It was only the beginning of that leverage.

I'm sorry to be so down, but the entire tone of that charade was just so false. Backpatting each other over overcoming the draconian rollbacks that the AMPTP started the negotiations with. Any child could see that that was just posturing. At that point we should have come back demanding 50% of the internet and 3 dollars a DVD. Then they would have known they were in for a fight with adults who also knew how to posture. Instead we started with our bottom line offer. Well, it won us the P.R war but it let them know they could play us like fiddles which they did, stalling until they could deal with the DGA and then stalling until this artificial "Time's up" deadline appeared. Oh and by the way, unless you agree to end the strike and recommend this to your members you can't even have it. Now get out.

I'm not voting for this turkey. If we had just had the guts to hold out a little longer we could have really gotten something. I'm not saying we didn't get anything, we did, but we could have gotten more, instead of this empty feeling of vague shame. We've been repeatedly lied to, slapped around and punked, the very latest being this whole Favored Nation thing being yanked away from us at the last second. And instead of getting angry... we just take it.

Their anger over the Oscars is a feint. The real prizes are the upfronts which net these guys 8 billion a year in upfront ad buys... usually for turkeys they couldn't sell in the light of day and next year's movie slate. I don't believe they would risk either.


We did blink. Twice. I understand having to pay bills, and mortgages, and feed your children, I really do. But those realities were there when we voted 90% to strike in the first place, weren't they? There comes a moment in any fight when you may be frightened, you may be losing, and you're certainly tired and bleeding. In that moment an individual looks inside of himself and takes measure of his soul. And either finds the courage to rise and fight on... or looks inward and finds... nothing but fear. And that moment of giving in haunts him/her for the rest of their lives, if they want to admit it or not. This is that moment.

We can get more. And it won't take three months either. None of those sociopaths want SAG and the WGA striking at the same time. It's their worst nightmare.

Vote no. Vote no. Vote no.

Frustrated Bystander said...

Hi Still in Shock:

I appreciate you voicing your concerns. I have been talking with the hubman about what I saw was a little bit of a "kool aid"/"lemming" reaction from him about this deal. I warned him about the "smoke and mirrors" ploy I see happening, and he countered this with "This is about the future." And so it is. He's been able to show me where in this deal he might find some monetary gains that would offset the financial hit we took to go out on strike.

I think, however, in terms of this upcoming "yes" vote to return to work, the other big deal is not about the hit to the AMPTP with the Oscars and shutting down pilot season but a strategy to help the currently staffed writers and their TV shows. At the same time as the TV season goes down the tubes, so does the currently employed writers' contracts. What this means is that the majority of the membership who had jobs this year, will not have the chance to re-stake and mark their territory to keep that job for next year. This is the other major factor for both the AMPTP AND the WRITERS which is funneling into relief and a happy "yes" vote. For once, the writers and the AMPTP are on the same page. Both want to get back to work.

Rodney Peterson said...

I have to agree with many of the points made by still in shock. I wish I were a current WGA member and could vote instead of a guy working his ass off to write a film for the first time and walking with you for the better part of three months now. And, honestly, I don't know how I would vote. I don't think it's a good idea to suspend picketing with so many balls still juggling in the air, however. I realize we're less powerful than a handful of studio heads but to just give them all the power when push comes to shove? That I don't understand.
I would be a lot happier as a future WGA member had the DVD/BluRay/HD-DVD formula included the SAG favored nations clause. Because people who really are fans of shows and movies-the types of fans none of us can live without because collectively they are everybody's bread and butter-want something physical to hold in their hands-I used to be a rabid collector the type who always counted how many hundreds of DVD's and CD's I had and bought all the hot new releases-so I know how these people think. A download is not a physical item. It's for a casual fan and those are not the types who would buy a ton of DVD's anyway.
At least the internet promotional window can be revisited in three years time when computer usage patterns are stronger than even today, but we've walked and walked and walked and it sounds like it's still the same abominable DVD deal of years past. How is that an accomplishment?
I really think the board went to the wall and the negotiators did a terrific job, but no vote is to be counted until Tuesday evening to my understanding. Walking Monday and Tuesday would seem to be appropriate if we want the world to know we're not entirely happy being treated as pawns.

Rodney Peterson

www.cuttingconfessionsfilm.blogspot.com

Brian Scully said...

To Still In Shock

Yeah, it is too bad you didn't speak up with your concerns at the meeting. That would have been the courageous thing to do, instead of sitting in silence and then posting later in anonymity. It's pretty hard to take seriously the courage you would have in staying out on strike for a better deal,when you obviously don't believe enough in your principles to speak up when it counts or identify yourself in your criticisms. My name is Brian Scully and I support the deal and the ending of the strike. Period.

jason said...

Subject: Was it all worth it???

I just want to say . . . Thank you, Patric! ...and David Young! My question is when looking at this proposed deal is . . .what the heck were you doing? I mean, was it all worth it to strike for that long of a period? The months of walking the picket lines, costing jobs, costing deals, ruining the Hollywood economy, causing hardship, losing health insurance (because the leadership forgot to freeze the benefits)??? Was it all worth it? I have blogged on here before stating that I worked with this leadership at the guild (under the guild's roof) and have found them to be incompetent boobs. Many of you defended them, including the hosts of this UH website. So, now I am just wondering what is your feeling and thoughts about this leadership group now? You must realize that this leadership group is insulated by their salaries and benefits and the people who politically appointed them at the guild. Therefore, I think it's time for a change. I think these leaders need to go . . . to be removed. They obviously don't know how to run a guild properly. . . somthing I learned while working beside them at the guild. Please tell me you feel the same way that I do and that justice must be served swiftly. We needs WGA leaders who actually care about the membership. Not politically appointed hacks who only serve their own interests. While working at the guild I heard these people utter the words..."Who cares about the writers. As long as our business infrastructure is intact we're fine." I for one am outraged. This is a travesty. What say you???

jason said...

Subject: Was it all worth it???

I just want to say . . . Thank you, Patric! ...and David Young! My question is when looking at this proposed deal is . . .what the heck were you doing? I mean, was it all worth it to strike for that long of a period? The months of walking the picket lines, costing jobs, costing deals, ruining the Hollywood economy, causing hardship, losing health insurance (because the leadership forgot to freeze the benefits)??? Was it all worth it? I have blogged on here before stating that I worked with this leadership at the guild (under the guild's roof) and have found them to be incompetent boobs. Many of you defended them, including the hosts of this UH website. So, now I am just wondering what is your feeling and thoughts about this leadership group now? You must realize that this leadership group is insulated by their salaries and benefits and the people who politically appointed them at the guild. Therefore, I think it's time for a change. I think these leaders need to go . . . to be removed. They obviously don't know how to run a guild properly. . . somthing I learned while working beside them at the guild. Please tell me you feel the same way that I do and that justice must be served swiftly. We needs WGA leaders who actually care about the membership. Not politically appointed hacks who only serve their own interests. While working at the guild I heard these people utter the words..."Who cares about the writers. As long as our business infrastructure is intact we're fine." I for one am outraged. This is a travesty. What say you???

just a thought said...

One of the earlier post was titled "ninth inning". I don't see it that way at all. This more like the seventh inning stretch. The end coming either in June or in three years. I wish the IA would support next time.

Frustrated Bystander said...

Writers -- Don't waste your time flaming each other about who's a "yes" or who's a "no." Talk about the deal points, how it will benefit you and if you can live with it.

This lame-ass PR move to split you from the Showrunners will eat your 48 hour discussion window. Don't let that happen.

Talk about your concerns, hear the advantages and disadvantages from your fellow colleagues.

Take a look at what benefits you and see if this offsets some of the disappointment. Hubby showed me how the library deal point would be beneficial for us, will it be beneficial for you?

JimBob said...

I thought this blog was moderated. Why is a blithering idiot like "jason" being posted here?

Hello said...

So you got the AMPTP exactly where they wanted you - good work.

City Big Guy said...

Mr. Scully, the reasons "still in shock" didn't speak out at the mass meeting are clear for anyone to see. You annunce your name because you announce your desire to vote yes. "Still in shock" is in a different place and you know it.

One, who wants to be hooted at and shouted down and laughed at? Two, everyone knows the negotiators can take care of themselves. Meanwhile, "still in shock" sees what happened to the soap writers and wonders what will happen to him/her when the studios decide he/she will never work again.

That's why the WGA has negotiators insulated from the worst. That's why we have secret ballots. And why a guild's leaders who did their very best still shouldn't slather rouge on a dead cow. Just tell us the truth. The deal's a crime, you're worried our Guild will fall apart because the big boys will bail, and so we're caving.

SAG wasn't there last night. They have as much respect us as we should have for ourselves. Meaning, not much.

MA said...

Brian Scully, thank you for so perfectly saying what everyone who reads "still in shock" is thinking.

This site has been a haven for writers who either aren't in the guild (thanks Rodney for your oh so scientific breakdown of DVD buyers versus download buyers...I'm shocked that the negcom hasn't knocked on your door yet to help them get a better deal!) or people like "still in shock" who probably haven't sold a project or worked in years.

All of the people complaining about the deal are the ones who don't ever work and expect to get paid forever when they do. You were all expecting this massive windfall of money simply because you think moguls are too rich and they should just give you money.

Well, welcome back to reality everyone. You lost. It's over. And the incompetence of your leadership has finally been exposed for all to see...

rational thinker said...

The big question is "Was it worth it?" Is it ever worth it? Isn't continuing the strike to make sure it was worth it analogous to staying in Iraq to make sure our dead haven't died in vain? There's no winning in a strike. Like war and divorce, there's only degrees of losing. Vote yes.

Gary said...

I will be voting no. Why? Simply put, this is not the deal, and deep down everyone knows it. This is the DVD formula all over again. This is writers twenty years from now looking back and realizing that right now is when a ton of earnings were lost forever. Why go to the brink of having a real shot at making a true impact, only to back off to save the Oscars and the pilot season and everything else the companies need? What it's really about is people wanting to go back to work. Bite the bullet for awhile. Make money another way if you have to, do whatever it takes. That paycheck you get now has a mighty big price tag when five or eight years from now your earning potential has been cut off at the knees by this lame deal. We all know it. Let's stop trying to fool ourselves and show people once and for all that writers really do have the balls to make a difference. Saying you have 'em and really showing you have 'em are two entirely different things.

bacci40 said...

as far as i can tell, this deal cuts out the writers for late night and cable/satellite tv, as well as those that work on soaps.

arent you guys afraid that they may bolt from the union?

also, dont worry too much about what will be 20 years from now, cuz within 5-10 years most entertainment content will be streamed or downloaded.

and i was under the impression that only one individual walked up to the mike to express his displeasure about the 17 day window, and he was yelled down when he refused to leave the podium, so i dont blame still in shock for not wanting to go through that.

its too bad the economy is in the state its in, which i am sure, had some impact on the leadership wanting to settle sooner than later.

but i really think most of you are getting a raw deal

rational thinker said...

One of the earlier post was titled "ninth inning". I don't see it that way at all. This more like the seventh inning stretch. The end coming either in June or in three years. I wish the IA would support next time.
Just a thought thinks the IA would support a three year strike. Is he delusional?

Rodney Peterson said...

What on earth is wrong with pointing out the difference between DVD buyers and downloaders? Did I come across as imparting some type of wisdom other people don't have? That's absolutely not my point and I can't believe anyone would think I have knowledge regarding this subject that isn't widely known. I'm quite sure the AMPTP knows much more about marketing, downloads and other facets of their business than I do-so a remark along the lines of I can't believe they're not busting down your door for advice is rather insulting. On the subject of not being in the guild-isn't this part of what you're fighting for? For myself and countless future writers? What on earth is wrong with supporting a guild you plan to be a part of? I think I've earned the right to be read and listened to by my actions. Actions that included walking the pavement for hours on end with all of you and taking this entire strike as seriously as any seasoned professional despite the idiotic looking outfit I wore at first (foot tall red white and blue hat.) I wore that thing until one of the captains asked me not to and it was never my choice to do so. I did that along with the self promotion that goes along with it because I felt I had to just to be noticed in this town. I started writing by fate, not choice, and I had no idea what to do to push the project forward when I started and in fact I couldn't even write-I taught myself-so give me some credit for that and for taking the initiative to be active in the battle with all of you.

Rodney Peterson

www.cuttingconfessionsfilm.blogspot.com

billywisse said...

What is the basis for the "we could have"s in posts like still in shock's? Obviously not a realistic look at the leverage available to us. We were striking for Internet coverage and got it. In percentage form and got it. Based on verifiable numbers and got it. Anyone who looks realistically at the situation will applaud the negotiators for what they have given us. And will then vote an enthusiastic Yes.

Eduardo Jencarelli said...

To Brian Scully,

One one hand I completely agree with the notion that each person should trust his/her principles and speak their mind whenever necessary. You're absolutely right about that.

I also respect your opinion about the strike's imminent ending, not that I necessarily agree with it. I understand that a fast resolution is necessary, especially given the way both Family Guy and The Simpsons have been delayed in production by now.

However, does this look like a serviceable long-term solution? Most likely, the WGA will be treading this path once again, 3 years down the road.

Eduardo Jencarelli said...

To Brian Scully,

On one hand, I completely agree with the notion that each person should believe in his/her principles, and therefore shouldn't be afraid to speak their minds when necessary.

I also understand and respect your opinion regarding the ending of the strike, although I don't necessarily agree with it.

I understand that a quick resolution is necessary, especially given the delayed state of production for both Family Guy and The Simpsons.

However, I'm inclined to ask: is this resolution viable as a long-term option? Most likely, the WGA will be facing this same issue again, 3 years down the road.

Eduardo Jencarelli said...

To Brian Scully,

On one hand, I completely agree with the notion that each person should believe in his/her principles, and therefore should speak their minds whenever necessary.

I also understand and respect your opinion regarding the ending of the strike, although I don't necessarily agree with it.

I understand that a quick resolution is highly beneficial, especially to shows like Family Guy and The Simpsons, given their delayed production at this time.

However, I'm inclined to ask: is this settlement really worth it as a long-term solution? Most likely, the WGA will be facing this challenge again, 3 years down the road.

Luzid said...

@ billy:

A percentage with a cap isn't a true percentage - it's just a renamed flat fee.

Enjoy waving goodbye to residuals.

Infected by stupidity said...

hey Brian Scully;
NICE!!!!
Your posting was excellent. Not only from the standpoint of ending the strike, but also for calling out the posers...whoops, I mean posters like still in shock on their convictions.
I am a crew member who works in Hollywood, and I have to be honest, the strike has not affected me at all. I just finished a movie (that had three unauthorized re-writes in the last 2 weeks), but I start another movie tomorrow. But its funny to see all of the same posters day after day complaining about the AMPTP and the congloms and blah, blah, blah. 3 months ago you were all so high on your leadership choices and were convinced that shortly after going on strike it would all be over. Now, as you move closer to a deal being done and finalized, which would involve many of you going back to work, you are more bitter than ever. Now you are turning on your leaders!!!
I saw so many posts about going to the meeting Saturday and voicing my opinion. But alas....one of you had the balls to do it, and the rest of you kicked them off the stage???? Even if Still n shock lacked the balls of his/her own, would that not have been an ideal time to back someone with similar views to your own, and possibly pull another person from the shadows to back your cause and so on?!
And so what happens next??? Mr. Scully jumps an a coward and ridicules them for not speaking their mind when it counted, but now Mr Scully is getting jumped on for being honest?????
Now what? Will you all vote no in the shadows of your homes, and continue the strike?? Will you send the very leaders you praise in public back into the lions den after they have negotiated a good faith offer and start from scratch??? Let me give you a little tid-bit: a no vote will have catastrophic consequences. Thet me share a couple of them with you.
Thecurrent offer will be off the table. You will not start from scratch Monday. The amptp will circumvent you and go directly to SAG. You already saw it with DGA, do you think it is impossible to see it with SAG? They will negotiate with SAG until June and leave you on that island all by yourselves and deal with you after SAG reaches a deal with the main goal to get Fall programming started.
As much as you would like to say the oscars and pilot season and the rest of the 08 spring tv season only benefits the producers and you can use it like a carrot to bargain with, realize this....if you are silly enough to ignore these deadlines and they are a non-factor at the end of the month, why in the world would the amptp even want to talk to you until they need you again in the fall.....after a deal has been reached with the actors.
Like I said, I have not been affected by the strike.I start a movie tomorrow that will take m till June. Most of the guys I knowhave found other work in other areas. The producers and corporations that run hollyowood are making money in other acvenues as well. Sure they are losing add odllars to new programming but they are also not paying a bigillion dollars every week for production crews and so on.
If most of you are finacially set, and can not get paid until the fall, and your health benefits are solid, then more power to you, but I think it would be a mistake to walk away from this deal, and I think Mr. Scully was right. If any of you were not happy with what you were hearing on Saturday, that was the perfect opportunity to be heard, and try to convince others to let their voices be heard also. Being brave on your blog does not help, it just delays the process longer than it needs to take.
I gotta go to bed.......I have a 7AM crew call (breakfast is at 6:30 if any of you wnna join me)!

MrKlaatu said...

As you know, I have posted here and other places very often during this strike and have been pretty militant, but I am voting YES, both to lift the strike and on the contract.

I think there are some bad things in the deal. Really bad things! Yet, I believe it is still a better deal than the WGA negotiated when any other new markets emerged in the last 30 years -- cable, home video, foreign. I also believe that the negotiating committee did a very good job and they got everything that was possible this go-around.

I believe that our leverage goes away for a long time after the Oscars and pilot season are killed. Prolonging the strike will likely mean months and months and will probably end up getting us no more.

My first reactions to the deal were emotional. But, they need to be rational. Voting yes is a business decision, not one about fairness. Fair we will never get. We never have. Not once.

The DGA got some concessions in new media (thanks to our strike). We got even more. Now, let's let SAG get us whatever improvements in new media they can -- sjortening the window, including cable shows in streaming residual formulas, etc. We have favored nations with them for new media.

Peter said...

Peterg
In 3 years you have the WAG,DGA,SAG,IA and teamsters all coordinate, work together as one just like the AMPTP does then things will change. If not just more of the same and we all lose.
WGA shot to soon should have waited for reinforcements.

rHob said...

Jason:

The fact that the benefits weren't frozen, was a major playing card for the studios. If I understand Federal Law, if you stop health benefits for under 100 people, you have to give 30 days notice. If you stop benefits for over 100 people, you have to give 90 days notice. Your leadership only told you a week ago that benefits ran out. Remember that little letter from The U.S. House of Representatives? Your leadership fucked up on this point...but I'm glad you're going back to work. I wish that the studios had given you a little bit more, but I also wish that your guild hadn't walked away in 2006. I wouldn't be surprised if IA doesn't try to sue the WGA for lost wages and benefits...they may not win, but America has tort law, where someone is always negligent. Good Luck.

rHob

rHob said...

Oh and one more thing:

Not saying that this will make you feel good, but the rest of the industry has been taking pay cuts for years and we fight with Canada for work whose government was giving them a 30% tax break (so much for NAFTA). I made $25,000 less last year than the previous year and I spend $70.00 more a month out of my paycheck for medical and my copays and prescriptions have gone up....Oh, but I forgot, I was supposed to save for this strike, in which I have no voting power.

rHob

JimBob said...

When your operating philosophy is "When you profit, we profit" and then you allow price-per-minute thresholds regarding a technology of which no one can predict the end result and definitions of a "professional writer" that are based on credits in the old technology, you're getting away from the underlying notion of "when you profit, we profit." This deal is like a chess player who makes a move that threatens the other guy's piece without pondering what the other player is going to do in response. The companies can and will change the way they do business, the way they define a "budget" and how they make use of things like the 17/24-day "windows." We made a bad deal in cable because no one looked five moves ahead and realized that the companies could sell content to their self-owned cable operations for a dollar and rerun the shit out of them practically for free. Everyone agrees today that the "window" of free streaming is hinky…so why are we signing on to it? We've come this far, we have them far more on the ropes than they're ever going to admit…and we're backing down.
This doesn't affect me, I'm old and gray and my bones are knackered. It's the youngsters who ought to be looking at this, realizing that the companies are going to exploit every weakness in the deal to the max, and screaming for those weaknesses to be strengthened now because they will not have any hope of being strengthened ever again.

Luzid said...

I'm suddenly struck with a question - if, as seems likely (and has already been stated as such), SAG goes on strike to get the fair deal they deserve, what will going back to work mean to their bargaining position?

Won't going back to work and allowing studios to stockpile content undercut those who have been walking the line with writers these past three months?

What is SAG's stance on the AMPTP's current offer? Any members out there want to weigh in with their feelings? I'd sure hate to think they're staying away out of a feeling of betrayal.

Brian said...

Okay, did you guys just expect AMPTP to roll over?

The deal, as far as I've read, does not exclude a percentage-based structure. It just doesn't propose one for two years time.

You're just pissed off because you aren't getting a perfect deal.

City Big Guy said...

Luzid says, "Say goodbye to residuals."

That's the first good-bye. There's another one coming.

Take 250 mil in residuals, multiply it by 14.5% for pension and health. The studios just saved 40 million a year for many years.

So after you say goodbye to residuals, say goodbye to pensions and health care. Those of you who think this is meaningless now won't think so in another couple of years.

Thar's what this deal is going to cost us. No amount of assaulting people's motives will change that.

nathkst35 said...

Hello i am nathalie ( from france) a huge NCIS' fan
and i want to bring support for my fav show, my fav actors, my fav writers!
i made these crea...
http://f0.img.v4.skyrock.com/f0a/mharmon4ever2/pics/1473608936.jpg
http://f0.img.v4.skyrock.com/f0a/mharmon4ever2/pics/1533396472.jpg

with all my heart
Semper Fi'
nathalie nathverdier7@hotmail.com

Captain Obvious said...

I think all the back and forth about winning or losing is taking far too much of an all-or-nothing approach.

There were some wins and some losses.

Personally I'd like to see you guys take a strategic tact here and vote to end the strike while simultaneously voting no to this contract. I think that would create the point of greatest leverage. That puts pulling the trigger on the strike back on the table, it's a huge PR move, and it may allow an opportunity to secure something slightly more palatable from the dark side. I can't fathom taking the AMPTP's second or third offer and running with it as truly a good idea. That's just my take on things, anyway.

diane said...

I really wanted to like this deal. Really. I think everybody did. We all know how incredibly hard the negcomm worked, and as far as I'm concerned they all deserved combat pay a long time ago.

BUT-- let's set aside the fact that animation, reality and probably the most important thing to feature writers like myself-- the dvd increase-- were all thrown under the bus early on. Add to that the 17-day free window, the relatively high budget limits for material created for the internet, and two years of a flat fee, and I'm starting to lose faith. But I realize it's all about the future right? All about getting a percentage of new media, (or certainly that was pretty much the only big thing left. Nobody was out on the picket line day after day to raise the minimums 3%.) So, here's my concern and it all boils down to three little words: "imputed value" and "handshake". After three long months, and so much sacrifice on the part of so many, as far as I can tell, those two pesky little asterisks all but nullify pretty much the only things that are being touted as our big achievement. Now, I realize everybody's beyond worn down and sick and tired of the whole damn thing, (god knows the AMPTP quite literally banks on that), but somebody tell me where I'm wrong about this. (But please DON'T tell me you actually expect the AMPTP to honor that "handshake" re: favored nations w/ SAG. There's a painfully obvious reason that wasn't put into writing, and I gave believing in fairy tales a long time ago.)

kimmy2007 said...

If this still in shock guy was at the meeting why did he not voice
his opinion ? I mean I guess he or she does not want to go back to work anytime soon? I guess they are so rich they can take being out of work for who knows how long? The only reason this deal went through is because both sides finally wanted to talk, it took the DGA to get involved and bring both parties to the table to get this done. I hope the vote is for yes to stop this strike and get back to work, no one wants to be out of a job, Iam sure mr still in shock does not want to be out of a job or maybe they do. Hard working people need the money . Now with SAG contract coming up, maybe they should start now and make sure this does not happen again. I applaud all the people who stuck it out and really tried to get a fair deal and came up with one. Congrats to both sides and now lets get back to work .

Shadow Boxer said...

I have been reading the comments posted on this site since the strike began. I have found it quite informative and offering food for thought.

A lot has been said about the rights of the screenwriter and I've seen more than a few posts referencing the AMPTP's efforts to deny writers ownership of their work. Well, I'm going to take a neutral approach to this issue since I believe that it relates to many of the issues that led to the strike to begin with.

A screenwriter creates a derivative work that is intended to be tranformed into another form of creative work (the film or television production). Under copyright laws, the copyright holder is the producer of that final work and not the screenwriter. That is quite a different environment than a playwright works under. A playwright is creating the actual final work and thereby owns the copyright. I've worked on both screenplays and stageplays and always feel much more comfortable with my rights when I finish a stageplay because I know that I own all copyrights.

A lot of commentors on this website have complained about how they feel they are getting screwed. Well, in my humble opinion, screenwriters have always been getting screwed, but the blame isn't entirely on the AMPTP. The blame also rests with existing copyright laws.

The Writers Guild has been laxed in trying to protect the writer by pushing for legislative changes that would provide more protections under the United State Copyright Law. If the screenwriter's right are strengthened through legislative changes then it would provide a more powerful position for the Writers Guild to negotiate stronger rights in their barganing with the AMPTP. Copyright Law takes precedence over collective bargaining when it comes to creative property.

My observations are not new. This is an issue that has been discussed through the media many times over the past 30-40 years and yet the WGA have done nothing to change the copyright protections for the screenwriter. No strike is going to force those changes. It is up to the members to push the leadership to start doing their jobs and seeking protections for the writer through avenues that would prove to be far more effective than a strike. Seeking stronger copyright protections through the Law.

As to a decision whether to end the strike now or wait... I feel that ending the strike now would only weaken the WGA and SAG's position if the membership doesn't ratify the deal. You can't end a strike and try to relaunch it again later and expect that all the progress made will still exist. I can assure you that once the strike is lifted, the AMPTP will quickly begin stockpiling a body of work that will get them through the next strike period, if it becomes necessary, and that will place BOTH unions (Writers and Actors) into a much weaker bargaining position.

I hope this makes sense.

jason said...

jimbob-
I think you're the only one who feels the way you do. Question... have you worked closely with Verrone or Young? I have. Do you know that Young cut staff (costing jobs) in other guild departments at the WGA while hiring a large staff in his own department? A department that is needless. . .to say the very least. This is a union guy we're talking about -- not caring for his employees. So, how do you think he feels about the members? There are things like this that you jimbob (please get informed) and the membership does not know. . .but I think it's telling about Young's M.O.. It's a cut and run mentality and that doesn't work for an institution that has been an important Hollywood landmark for years -- protecting the writer from industry pitfalls. So, I am disappointed that idiots like Young are leading the charge during such a critical time for the WGA's membership. I warned the membership that these leaders were an incomptent group that misrepresented during this strike. If you have any reservation about this deal then I am sure you feel the same way. You just don't want to admit it. However, we need to be 'united' as a group. And, if that means changing our leaders then that's what we should do. What we need to do. I do not like them putting down the writer behind our backs and putting up a front to our faces. How about you? Sorry if I blathered on jimbob...but at least I have something meaningful to say.

Thank you United Hollywood for this great forum!

jason said...

jimbob-
I think you're the only one who feels the way you do. Question... have you worked closely with Verrone or Young? I have. Do you know that Young cut staff (costing jobs) in other guild departments at the WGA while hiring a large staff in his own department? A department that is needless. . .to say the very least. This is a union guy we're talking about -- not caring for his employees. So, how do you think he feels about the members? There are things like this that you jimbob (please get informed) and the membership does not know. . .but I think it's telling about Young's M.O.. It's a cut and run mentality and that doesn't work for an institution that has been an important Hollywood landmark for years -- protecting the writer from industry pitfalls. So, I am disappointed that idiots like Young are leading the charge during such a critical time for the WGA's membership. I warned the membership that these leaders were an incomptent group that misrepresented during this strike. If you have any reservation about this deal then I am sure you feel the same way. You just don't want to admit it. However, we need to be 'united' as a group. And, if that means changing our leaders then that's what we should do. What we need to do. I do not like them putting down the writer behind our backs and putting up a front to our faces. How about you? Sorry if I blathered on jimbob...but at least I have something meaningful to say.

Thank you United Hollywood for this great forum!

Luzid said...

@ Brian:

No, you're wrong.

The third-year 'percentage' isn't a true percentage - it's a flat fee disguised as a percentage.

It's a dishonest tactic used to trick those who don't realize this into thinking "well, at least we get a percentage at some point". What writers will get is no more than the flat fee from the other two years, since it's capped.

It has nothing to do with a 'perfect' deal. It's about a fair one. This isn't it, in my analysis. The likely annihilation of current residuals (and thus h&p) is completely unreasonable.

Brian said...

Luzid,

I understand why everyone is upset. Or at least I do to the extent of a non-union writer trying to land a job as an assistant or something.

But quite frankly, my position still stands. The big dogs are not going to give up everything, not after so long.

The current deal? If you guys play your cards right, you could really beef this contract up in the future. It's gotta be a gradual process. Is it FAIR? You tell me how many employers are willing to be fair, especially the rich and cranky ones. It's gotta be gradual.

You at least HAVE the internet now. Don't try to be morose and emo and act like you don't.

In other words, don't act like AMPTP.

Luzid said...

@ Brian:

Yeah, writers have the internet now - with loopholes big enough to swallow Cameron's ego.

Pointing that out isn't emo. It's noting the history of writers getting screwed, and the likelihood of it happing again with this contract.

I'd dearly love to be wrong on this. I *hope* to be wrong. But I don't see that as the case. Believe me, if I am I'll be the first to admit it, happily.

My main question now is, what do SAG members think of this blueprint, and how will they deal with it?