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WGA Strike: week two updates

by Liz Finn-Arnold, posted Nov 13th 2007 5:38PM
WGA strikeWe've entered Week Two of the WGA Strike, and although we're not getting any closer to a resolution, there's still plenty of WGA Strike news to report:

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@At-Will Employee:

I think it's rare that Americans are able to take their fellow colleagues into consideration when making decisions about their own employment. Few of us would turn down a promotion or a raise because of how it will affect our coworkers. It's sad, but in this country we are trained to look out for what's best for us.

That said, I don't think the WGA members are ignoring the crews that they work with. They are diligently raising money for a Solidarity Fund to help them during their time of unemployment, and the union that represents the crew may end up benefiting from the contract the writers end up signing.

I also don't think the WGA ever really left the bargaining table. They are just waiting for the studio to join them there.

Still, it's unfortunate when anyone is unemployed. Perhaps the next time we all criticize a television show or bet on how soon it will be canceled, we should take a moment to think about the 100 or so people depending on that show to earn a living.

November 16 2007 at 12:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

RE the soap writers crossing the picket line: WGA blog UnitedHollywood.com is reporting that:

"...later today we'll be publishing the Y&R response today from the writers themselves, but apparently a non-writing producer who has WGA membership from previous work has chosen to go fi-core and become, effectively, a scab. Not multiple members of the writing staff of Y&R choosing to abandon the strike effort, as Variety reported. Just a producer who wasn't writing to begin with choosing to cross the picket line to the detriment of all the writers on that staff, and in this effort. Again, we'll post the full story today..."

November 14 2007 at 2:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Unions are just as bad as the forces that they try to counter... In today's economy there is nooooooo room for them. I can go on and on.

The LA Times just published the following email from Dale Alexander, a key grip on The Office, which puts the severity of this strike into perspective.

It reads:

“Our show was shut down and we were all laid off this week. I’ve been watching the news since the WGA strike was announced and I have yet to see any coverage dedicated to the effect that this strike will have on the below the line employees.

I respect the WGA’s position. They probably do deserve a larger percentage of profit participation, but a lengthy strike will affect more than just the writers and studios. On my show we had 14 writers. There were also 2 cameramen, 2 camera assistants, 4 hair stylists, 4 makeup artists, 7 wardrobe people, 4 grips, 4 electricians, 2 craft service, 4 props people, 6 construction, 1 medic, 3 art department, 5 set dressers, 3 sound men, 3 stand-ins, 2 set PAs, 4 assistant directors, 1 DGA trainee, 1 unit manager, 6 production office personnel, 3 casting people, 4 writers assistants, 1 script supervisor, 2 editors, 2 editors assistants, 3 post production personnel, 1 facilities manager, 8 drivers, 2 location managers, 3 accountants, 4 caterers and a producer who’s not a writer. All 102 of us are now out of work.

I have been in the motion picture business for 33 years and have survived three major strikes. None of which have been by any of the below the line unions. During the 1988 WGA strike many of my friends lost their homes, cars and even spouses. Many actors are publicly backing the writers, some have even said that they would find a way to help pay bills for the striking writers. When the networks run out of new shows and they air repeats the writers will be paid residuals. The lowest paid writer in television makes roughly twice the salary than the below the line crewmember makes. Everyone should be paid their fair share, but does it have to be at the expense of the other 90% of the crewmembers. Nobody ever recoups from a strike, lost wages are just that, lost.

We all know that the strike will be resolved. Eventually both sides will return to the bargaining table and make a deal. The only uncertainty is how many of our houses, livelihoods, college educations and retirement funds will pay for it.”

"The Office" Deposition Episode Pictures and Lawsuit Spoilers

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November 14 2007 at 1:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wasn't it just reported here the other day that Ellen will be continuing her show because she's contractually obligated to? The writers are striking because they don't have a contract in place; she is working because she does. And apparently her show's contract supercedes whatever union she belongs to.

On a side note, the monologue is usually the weakest part of her show (except for the dancing and audience interaction). So if that's the part that other writers create, we're once again seeing people producing mediocre work complaining about not getting enough money. If it were just her writers and Jay Leno's, I'd say good riddance to the lot of them.

November 14 2007 at 12:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Aaack. It kills me to say something nice about Ellen DeGeneres...but, she is living up to her responsibilites like an adult."

Umm.. how about her responsibilities to her union? and her other union members - including the staff members that make her funny?

Ellen is a baby plain and simple. Nobody is asking her to sit out the season, but just like Letterman and the others, she could have easily sat out a week or do, before anyone else on the show gets canned.

November 14 2007 at 8:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Aaack. It kills me to say something nice about Ellen DeGeneres...but, she is living up to her responsibilites like an adult.

November 14 2007 at 8:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Why is everyone picking on Ellen? I don't see any complaints for the "View," and they are the same kind of show."

I don't know about the hosts of the view, but Ellen is a member of the WGA, which is probably why the east coast wing of the WGA is targeting her.

November 14 2007 at 12:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mj green

And, although I have TIVO, I seldom skip the commercials. I LIKE commercials. A lot of them are better than the shows. The networks love reality shows and game shows because they are cheaper than comedies or dramas. So, we are bombarded with them. Personally, I don't like them.

November 13 2007 at 9:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mj green

Why is everyone picking on Ellen? I don't see any complaints for the "View," and they are the same kind of show.

November 13 2007 at 9:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Toby OB

Wolf, for the most part they're striking on behalf of the 45 % or so of the Guild that's unemployed at any particular time. And even if they're making big money now, what about years and years down the line when studios are still making fortunes off what they wrote by showing it on the internet and the writers are getting nothing for what they created?

November 13 2007 at 9:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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