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Thursday, November 08, 2007

TBIFY is a Pro-Union Zone

Much of the coverage of the WGA strike has focused on which celebs are walking the picket lines, which shows are canceled, delayed, or suspended indefinitely, and how much it's going to cost the entertainment industry.

What's getting lost in all this is the fact that this is a strike over the somehow controversial idea that when people create content that yields revenue for a company, they deserve to be paid for it. This seems to me like an eminently just reason to walk a picket line.

Especially when the corporate baddies are being so transparent about their reasons for opposing the new contract.

Michael Eisner called the strike "stupid", and claimed that there was no money to be made in digital distribution.

Summer Redstone of Viacom shrugged and said, "Look, we've been preparing for this for a long time," Redstone said. "We're certainly not happy about it and we hope that it is settled amicably, but we feel we're pretty well positioned to live with a strike."

And unfortunately, I think that Jon Baitz of Brothers and Sisters is pretty much on the ball when he suggests, "It is my sad conclusion that there is a faction within AMPTP that wishes to break the guild or at very least, gore it, and wait this out, so as to cynically write off an entire season of unprofitable programming decisions and lay the way for future gains. In other words; to let the strike go on for months."

I know it's easy to dismiss all of this because it's Hollywood people, but there's a reason that writers and actors form unions alongside Teamsters and civil servants and public school teachers: without unionization, people in these professions are powerless and easy to exploit.

So, as part of the 10% of the U.S. workforce lucky enough to belong to a union, I say, power to the people, down with the man, and all that good stuff.

AFSCME represent!


Ang said...


I think it's really rich that they keep hammering us with the whole "it's gonna cost the industry a ton" business. What the hell do I care about the CEOs and other big cheeses? Infuriating.

Gwen said...

I hope it DOES cost them a ton so they decide to settle and move on. And I like this whole "we can't pay the actors for online stuff because there's no money made through online distribution." Well, then, giving writers a percentage won't hurt much if it's a percentage of 0, will it? And not wanting to give any royalties on DVDs? Come on.

If this might really go on for months, as people are saying, it seems like the studios and networks are going to create an enormous amount of resentment and ill-will from audiences. I know I'm already somewhat irritated that The Daily Show is in reruns; 5 months from now, when every show I like is in reruns, I'll be pissed at the networks, not the writers.

Gwen said...

I meant writers where i wrote "actors" in that last comment, obviously.

mary_m said...

I just hate that it's gotten to the point where it's very difficult for a workers' strike to have a real impact.

Like, when my mom went on strike a few years ago. True story:

Teachers in PA are allowed to strike, but by law, they have to stop sometime around October so that the kids can still get their 180 days in.

And of course, because of this, school boards have no incentive to negotiate with teachers. They just wait it out until the teachers are legally obligated to go back to work before screwing them over.

That it's legal to make it illegal to strike just blows my mind.

Nathan said...

This is a hard one. As a union man, of course I support the writers. On the flip side, if this further delays the dvd release of battlestar galactica, I will eat my own hand.

mary_m said...

Oh no... I had not considered the BSG-related implications of this strike.

Can't we have justice AND season 4?

theboss said...

Why worry about Season 4 of BSG on DVD when Season 3 hasn't even been released in the US?

mary_m said...

I guess I'm worried that season 4 might not get made at all.

And season 3 ended on one heck of a cliffhanger. If they don't have a chance to finish the series, I swear, it will haunt me for the rest of my days.

Anonymous said...

Season 4 is already done.

mary_m said...