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July 22, 2014

Strike Aftermath: Strike-breaker Hunt!

by Brad Trechak, posted Apr 23rd 2008 7:06AM
WGA StrikeThe WGA has posted the names of 28 writers who crossed picket lines during the WGA Strike on their website. Most of them went to work on soap operas. The union also posted an open letter ridiculing them for breaking the strike.

All these writers still have "financial core" status in which they pay union dues and are still represented by the Guild. They can't, however, participate in guild elections (either with votes or holding an office) or union activities.

The Association of Motion Picture and Television denounced this move accusing the WGA of violating labor law by "seeking to deny employment to these writers in the future."

Something as hot-button as a strike always has its divisive elements. With the strike over, this whole situation sounds childish. U.S. labor says that the striking members can still be protected by the Union. If the WGA doesn't like that, they should try to change the law rather than posting "witch hunt" letters on their website.

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Anonymous

"They could change the law, or do this. The studios chose to hire scabs. They hardly have a right to complain that this is being pointed out. Of course it was going to be pointed out. Everyone knew that. Its silly to act like this wasn't expected as soon as these writers crossed the picket line."

Nope, they chose to let their existing workers exercise their legal right to leave the union and carry on working. If the workers hadn't, well, soap isn't exactly all that healthy as it is (a several-month hiatus might prove fatal) and it's not exactly cheap to make, but I don't think the companies put any undue pressure on the workers.

(The thing is, soap writers don't actually benefit from any of the things the WGA was striking for, and apparently they're not exactly happy with how little support the WGA has provided on things that do matter to them. Plus, they're not exactly well paid compared to other writers, they have things like families and mortgages to worry about, and they don't regularly have long periods of time with no screenwriting work like most of the other WGA members. All in all, they were far harder hit by the strike, and they might be better off forming their own union independent of the WGA.)

April 24 2008 at 9:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
brian.stuart

They could change the law, or do this. The studios chose to hire scabs. They hardly have a right to complain that this is being pointed out. Of course it was going to be pointed out. Everyone knew that. Its silly to act like this wasn't expected as soon as these writers crossed the picket line. This is the kind of penalty they take for that action. Its proportionate and reasonable. Some of their fellow writers won't want to work with them. If they have enough clout, they can make sure they don't. Which is fair. Look, the strike breakers knew what they were doing. Acting like they didn't do it is the opposite of fair. Whatever comes to them is something they decided to accept. This is the same thing whenever anyone else crosses a picket line. I don't see why these strike breakers should get special treatment on that count. They made their choice and if they couldn't deal with the ramifications, then they shouldn't have made that choice.

April 23 2008 at 12:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
orimental

Kind of sad that they're doing this, considering they didn't really get what they wanted in the strike.

April 23 2008 at 11:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rich

Just a couple of quick points

-The WGA probably has no problem with US Labor law in this instance. Here, the WGA is able to collect the dues of those 28 members without giving them a voice in the Union (ie: choosing union officials)

-Those 28 members can no longer participate in the internal affairs of the WGA. However, when it's time to re-certify (or if they'd like, start their own de-cert petition) the Union, those 28 members still have right to vote with everyone else on whether the WGA (or any union) will represent them.

-The WGA cannot seek to deny employment to those 28 writers. So, in publishing those names, was the WGA trying to prevent those writers from getting work, or showing some transparency in internal union discipline. I think the answer is somewhere in the middle, and its nothing to really care about.

April 23 2008 at 11:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mj green

My mom and my ex husband were in unions. I saw first hand what they did. I hate unions. At one time, they tried to help workers. Now it is who you know, and how much you can pay. People need to realize the real reason jobs are leaving this country. The unions. Yes, they helped get decent wages, and benefits. But look at the money the UNIONS are raking in. If you aren't a suck up, you might get 'missed' for a job. The unions need to retrench, and stop doing to the workers what they started out trying to stop.

April 23 2008 at 11:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
SadOldMan

These poor guys didn't have a huge endorsement deal with American Express like Tina Fey has. They were just guys and gals trying to feed their family.
This union crap has got to end before it ruins this country.

April 23 2008 at 8:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
4 replies to SadOldMan's comment

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