Writers Strike Update: SAG Pledges WGA Support Too
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).