Friday, November 02, 2007

WGA considers strike action

From the Writers Guild Of America West website:
Thursday night, nearly 3,000 WGA members packed the LA Convention Center. At this meeting, the largest membership meeting in Guild history, writers heard the WGA Negotiating Committee’s report on the status of negotiations. The Negotiating Committee reported that the AMPTP had called a halt to negotiations by demanding we accept the extension of the current DVD formula to new media. They also reported that in three months of negotiations, the AMPTP has not responded in any serious manner to our initial proposals.

The Negotiating Committee then announced its unanimous recommendation that the WGAW Board and the WGAE Council call a strike.

Members spent three hours in frank discussion of the Negotiating Committee’s report and recommendation. The membership expressed their anger at the Companies’ refusal to bargain seriously, and voiced their overwhelming support for the Negotiating Committee, Guild leadership, and for the bargaining agenda of the WGA.

The WGAW Board and the WGAE Council will meet Friday to consider the recommendation of the Negotiating Committee and to decide the next steps. The decision of the Board and Council whether and when to strike will be communicated to the membership by e-mail and through the Captains system, and will be posted on the WGAW and WGAE websites.
Update: Obviously there's loads of coverage in the American press - LA Times, New York Times, Hollywood Reporter etc - as well as in the British papers. This is the WGAW's main page for updates on the contract negotiations. There's also a WGAW Strike Captain's blog, United Hollywood.

This article by John Patterson in today's Guardian caught my eye.
It's terrible folly for the moguls to mistake the Writers Guild for wimps, but 19 years [since the last strike] is an eternity in forgetful Hollywood. Even more thoroughly forgotten is the fact that the Writers Guild is the oldest union in Hollywood, that it paved the way for collective bargaining within an anti-union industry head-quartered in a notoriously open-shop city, and that the studios tried to strangle it in its cradle, even packing it with conservative writers in the 1930s, the better to sabotage it from within. The studios were heavily invested in the McCarthy witchhunts, not because of commie-phobia per se, but because it gave them a perfect patriotic cover for more union-busting. And still the WGA stands.

Remember, most of the Hollywood 10 were writers, many of them founders of the WGA. When they went to prison for their political beliefs, and thereafter into exile for decades, people called them lots of nasty names, but no one called them wimps.


  1. Hello.

    Just wondering what the WGGB's "official" stance will be if the WGA strike? Got a few clients etc, American and Brit, worried about this - none of them want to get expelled from their unions obviously, but as spec writers none of them want to pass up opportunities unneccessarily.

    What was the WGGB's stance in the 1978 strike, out of interest?

    Thanks, Lucy

  2. Thank you for finally posting something about the strike.

    I second Lucy's question.

  3. No official statement has yet been made, but one will be coming soon, and I think you can expect the WGGB to be fully supoporting any action the WGA takes. That's certainly what has happened in the past.

    btw, Eleanor, I have posted about this subject before:

  4. The WGGB will be issuing a statement to our members soon but our position is this: we support the WGA in their strike and would strongly advise our members not to strike-break. When American studios run low on film and TV material (as they will) they usually come to other English speaking writers: ie: British and Australian. And anyone who strike- breaks will be blacklisted by the WGA for life. Since the WGA is a closed shop, you must belong to it to work in films or TV. So if you're blacklisted it means you can NEVER work in America as a writer again, and your career is over before it begun. So please think carefully before you do anything. And let's all wish our American colleagues well. Nobody enjoys a strike and, like us, they have mortgages to pay and families to keep. Good luck to them all.

    Gail Renard
    Chair of the WGGB Television Committee

  5. Le me add, as ever, if you have any worries then please contact the Guild office for assistance.

  6. Thanks for clarifying Gail and Tom!

  7. Oops! Sorry Tom, I usually check the WGGB main site, so I missed it.

    I'm very glad to get the clarifications. Any info on this topic is much appreciated! :)

  8. Just to tell everyone to keep checking the Guild site and blog, and we'll all do our best to let you know what's happening as and when it happens. It's never easy being a writer, is it?

  9. You were nothing more than a prostitute in the T.V. world, doing grotesque things anyone could do, but for money and publicity. Thats nothing more than prostitution, and I said 'were' because I noticed you haven't done anything lately, except blog of course. Glad to see networks execs are ignoring you now. Maybe its time to go make soccer-balls in Pakistan. I am also gladd because 75% of TV shows and movies had really bad scripting/acting/plots/themes. I can now submit my works and forget about Tom Greens shitty acting skills and lame ass comedy.

  10. BTW try no to delete my comments


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