Thoughts on a strike

by alphamonkey on December 13, 2007 · 4 comments

in Uncategorized

Writers StrikeIt’s interesting to see how coverage of the WGA strike is shifting now that the action has moved to a point that’s guaranteed to impact more than the talk-shows. Initial news coverage was fairly positive across the board, with an emphasis on how this strike was meant to avert another colossal screwing-over like the one writers were dealt with the emerging home video market. Now there’s a lot more ‘quit whining and get back to work’ stuff getting out there.

You know, the idea that this strike will mean that shows that I personally adore may get axed drives me insane, but I don’t fault the writers in that regard. We’re talking about a strike that is partially hinged on the studios refusing to advance DVD residuals from 4 cents to 8 cents per unit. Four cents, people. Scarily enough, that is indeed very much worth a strike. This isn’t a fight about rich people wanting more money (well, at least not from the writers’ side), and I find it amazing that there’s no parallel being drawn between this situation and the overall wage disparity we’ve been seeing in America (PDF) since the 80’s. The gap between the highest and lowest paid workers of a company are wider than they’ve been in a long, long time, and it’s astounding to me that this isn’t more of an issue for most. We’re in a new Gilded Age, and to get here we’ve traded nearly every labor advance made by our grandparents’ generation.

Sure it sucks to have no Daily Show, or to face an all-reality tv schedule on the tube, but what’s at stake here is more than just our own personal entertainment. If the WGA lose this fight (along with losing public support), it sends a clear signal that we don’t care enough about our own socio-economic system to raise a fuss over an inequity that affects the majority of the US population, and you better believe that message is going to be received loud and clear by the heads of other industries.

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  • Andy Cochrane

    the one thing about this strike is that it is not just the writers. due to precedents set decades ago, whatever deal one guild gets, they all get. so yes, it’s important that the writers win, but it’s not 4 cents, it’s a percentage of online revenue equivalent to a 50% increase on the current revenue models, for all guilds. i can see why the greedy greedy AMPTP is balking and trying to prevent any more of their precious monies going to people who helped them earn it. i linked and commented on a good article on this issue here. also, for some thursday fun check out the new AMPTP website, it’s funny.

  • .alphamonkey.

    That’s a valid point, and one that I intentionally left out, as the wage disparity for Directors and Actors isn’t nearly so gawdawful (though the stageworkers union would most likely benefit from a WGA win)

    The Director’s Guild is signaling that they want the WGA to resume work so that the DGA can take the lead on this negotiation. I’m not sure how that’s a good idea.

  • Andy Cochrane

    in the past, the dga has screwed the other unions by settling for a lesser deal, forcing the others to settle for the same. the dga can do this because their larger share of the above the line front end compensates for a smaller back end (in terms of overall averages). the wga had better not go back to work until they have what they want/need- this is their one shot to get what they want. if the strike goes until the dga and sag contracts also expire this summer, the dga will end the whole thing with a settlement that screws all the other guilds over. go writers go!!!

  • BAD

    I could care less if the whole industry collapses.

    Honestly, I think part of the pay disparity problem is that the true working class of the US has allowed the white collar minority to step all over them.

    Since it was happening gradually, We the working class let it happen, promises like what the WGA describe have happened everywhere.

    I remember that one year when I started working at the place I am now (In the entertainment industry sort of), they told us the company is not doing so well, so they could not give us raises or bonuses. We said hey no problem, make up for it next year.

    Well the raises continued again (3 to 4% average), but I haven’t seen a bonus since then. Sneaky sneaky. This company has one of the largest turn over rates I have ever seen. I wonder why?

    This is the solution. Fighting. The whole industry will fail without writers. I say let it. Hit the greedy bastards where it will hurt them the most, in their fat wallets.

    I can’t wait till the people I work with grow enough spine to do the same.

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