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Writers Strike Update: SAG Pledges WGA Support Too

by
December 17, 2007
Source: Deadline Hollywood

Writers Strike Update

It's been quite a while since we've updated the Writers Strike here on FS.net, and it's primarily because there hasn't been too much extraordinary to mention. Unfortunately the strike is still underway with no signs of stopping. Although a proposal was made a few weeks ago, it was quickly torn apart by the writers and has since been long forgotten. The most recent news on the strike as of Monday is that the writers have decided to reach out to individual studios and companies instead of dealing directly with the AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers) on a whole.

Over the weekend, the WGA (Writers Guild of America) issued a statement to its members about their decision to begin negotiation with individual companies. Here's an excerpt from the memo:

"We want to do everything in our power to move negotiations forward and end this devastating strike. We have therefore decided to reach out to major AMPTP companies and begin to negotiate with them individually. As you may know, bargaining on a multi-employer basis through the AMPTP is an option for the WGA, not a legal requirement."

And how did the AMPTP respond? They claimed that this meant that the WGA is "grasping for straws" and that they "have never had a coherent strategy for engaging in serious negotiations." The worst part of this strike is that there is so much internal and private negotiation that we only ever hear what makes it to the public by way of officially released statements or leaked rumors. As in, no one really knows who's making more harsh demands. Although we support the writers and their ideals, their negotiations may be too aggressive, and therefore the AMPTP isn't cooperating as quickly and as smoothly as they want.

On Sunday, the Screen Actors Guild, which has been talking about a strike themselves when their contract ends next June/July, pledged their support for the WGA. Here's an excerpt from the letter SAG President Alan Rosenberg wrote to the WGA:

"I am writing to you on behalf of 120,000 proud members of Screen Actors Guild who stand with you in solidarity as your strike continues. We believe that now more than ever, we must remain strong and even more committed to achieving our common objectives. We are proud to walk shoulder-to-shoulder with you and SAG will be there for as long as it takes."

"Your fight is our fight. Our National Executive Director Doug Allen and I are working around the clock with Patric Verrone and David Young to coordinate our strike support efforts. I'm sure you have seen some of the thousands of Screen Actors Guild members who've been walking the picket lines in Los Angeles, New York and around the country for the last six weeks."

If I were the AMPTP or any major studio exec in Hollywood, I'd be getting a little bit concerned. Not only did IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees), the union that makes up most of the "below-the-line" workers like makeup artists, set decorators, grips, prop specialists, join in support of the WGA recently, but now SAG and all the celebrities are pledging their full support as well. Soon all of Hollywood except the small group of producers and execs that make up the AMPTP are going to be on strike and/or protesting!

Some interesting discussion has arisen regarding what will happen with the Golden Globe Awards and the Writer Strike. Apparently it's almost certain that a picket line will be setup outside, but how will this affect everything happening inside? Read the report over at Deadline Hollywood or discuss it over at Film School Rejects, where they have a great article on the Golden Globes controversy and what might happen.

Lastly, an update that although is on the TV front (something we don't even dare mention here), it could mean progress in some way for the strike on a whole. Collider has an article about Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien returning to their shows in January, with each paying their staff themselves. This is a very powerful move and I think this kind of thing is going to make a much stronger impact than memos (see above).

And as always, don't forget to pick up your Writers Strike Swag over at StrikeSwag.com! I've ordered my t-shirt already, so make sure you go order yours, too!

Strike Swag

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  • Pat Abs
    This whole thing is getting old quick. Last time it happened it cost the industry over 500 million dollars. I understand wanting to get paid for things you do, but to me striking is ignorant. I think the studios should hire all non union employees on a salary basis like the rest of the world operates. Many of the writers talk about living from paycheck to paycheck. Where I come from, if you can't pay the bills doing what you love you find a new job that does pay the bills and do what you love on the side. There are thousands of fans in America who would gladly sign on to the studios to be writers. I say hire them and be done with the whole union. Then we never have to worry about a strike again.
  • Nick O.
    An update! Thank you!
  • mpc2000
    who cares about the strike except couch potatoes and teh movie industry? Um, it's becuase of such great shows that our asses are getting fat in America....We have to watch the latest show no matter if it means skipping exercise. and I do agree with the last poster about hiring the writers as non-union. Most writers should be fine if they just do the writing on a freelance basis anyways, and you can move around more if you were a free agent, instead of having to deal with that nonsense, just move onto another show or whatever.
  • CSpuppydog
    Someone needs to suck someone off so we can be done with this already....
  • scorpio
    The writers need to realize that the studios really don't need them. All they are doing is distancing themselves from the rest of the industry. For every one writer there are 200 below-the-line people that are out of work. As we speak studios are buying up options from non-union writers. Some people say that if the studios go for the non-union scripts, the quality will diminish. Lets be honest, quality has not been very good for the past few years. Don't act like "The Office" is original, don't get me wrong, it's good, but it is just a copy of a far superior British TV show. The writers complain that the studios make alot of money on their product, well more power to the studio. If it wasn't for the studio the "writer" wouldn't have a job to begin with. The studio has employees to pay also, it's not like there's studio exec, with a giant cardboard check all to himself. There are 12,000 writers in the WGA, and there are about 100,000 people trying to be writers, but the studios can't hire them cause the guild will stop writers from writing "Gossip Girl". Please!! The writers also want reality-based television to be covered in the WGA. WTF?? Little jealous aren't they. One last note, if the studio puts the shows on the internet for free, then why should the pay you, if there is no advertising revenue. HEY WRITERS...SAY THANK YOU, THEN SHUT UP, and GET BACK TO WORK, BEFORE IT ALL GOES AWAY. Good Night and Good Luck
  • Richard
    I wish I could fucking quit my job until they gave me a raise, weak.
  • Mr.
    Wow, here we are in America, one of the few places on Earth where people can freely join together to speak out and demand what they deserve, and it gets these kinds of ignorant responses from people with no idea what a privilege the ability to strike actually IS. Jeez guys, why not spew some ignorant, venomous nonsense about your right to vote while you're at it.
  • Miz J
    You are mistaken about the IA joining in support of the strike. If you read the article that yours links to you will see that the march was to encourage both sides to make a deal and get back to work. In fact, Tom Short, international president of the IATSE wrote a scathing letter to the head of the WGA. I am afraid that now empathy has turned to hostility. These people are grown-ups! Well, some of them. The directors made a deal. The writers just look like they can't make a decision until the Chinese food arrives. Why does it take 12 to 14 of them to write a television show anyway. Are 4 or 6 writers not funny? Now that I thnk of it, Buddy, Sally and Dick wrote every episode of the Alan Brady show!

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