Monday, December 10, 2007

WGA Management Officially on Crack


Monday Dec. 10 -- In a staggering display of poor judgment, the Writers Guild of America, currently neck-deep in a strike effort against the AMPTP (film producers), either deliberately or inadvertently sent an official WGA communique to the entire WGA West membership plugging a spoof site ridiculing the AMPTP. The site, www.amptp.com, lampoons the AMPTP's poor judgment and is entertaining satire to be sure. But at a time when thousands of people are out of work heading into the holidays, most of whom will never see any benefit from any WGA deal, only lost income, the industry is getting more and more nervous, and key industry figures like Thomas Short, president of Hollywood union IATSE, are publicly criticizing guild management for incompetence on the front page of The Hollywood Reporter, in my opinion the Guild should have exercised some sensitivity here. To be sure, this comes across as a childish move--certainly not the deft and professional negotiations many of us were hoping for.

To be clear, Coverage Ink supports the issues the WGA is going for here. But boneheaded moves like this can't possibly help the Guild or the strikers. Goof sites are fine, and I've written a few myself. But when they're officially sanctioned by one side, it makes the sanctioner look like a complete jack-ass. Brilliant tactical maneuver, WGA.

UPDATE 12/11: WGA President Patric Verrone responds thusly:

Jim,

Thanks for writing. So you know, this web site was done without Guild knowledge or input but, when we saw it, we thought members would be interested. We remain committed to resolving this contract as soon as humanly possible. Remember, the AMPTP walked away from the table on Friday, not us. We are ready and willing to bargain at a moment's notice.

Seriously.

Best,
Patric

***********

So this confirms that no less than WGA President Patric Verrone signed off on this mail. God help us all. I defer to the first post below from "anonymous" as to a few more reasons why this WGA mailing was a serious shot in the foot. --JC

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Right on! My biggest problem with the strike is the inflammatory rhetoric -- when the strike is over we have to work with the producers again -- countless writer blogs calling them "evil" "Greedy" "idiots" etc -- I don't see how that will make them want to negotiate with us -- as soon as there is some sort of proposal there's suddenly a million posts that make the studios seem like sweatshops in the 1900s and the writers are the poor child laborers! Please! A little sanity or this might go on for a year and break the Union! Fewer youtube videos about how pathetic the writer's life is and more negotiating!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I was pretty surprised when I got that mail, too. I'll all down with the WGA and fighting the man and all but this definitely seemed a bit off.

monacojerry said...

I don't get it. The fact is that this parody was right-on. It is what we who are only fans of writers and creators expect of you, a good parody that is also true.


Listen, I am not a member of WGA, but I am a former union organizer and once a member of the USWA and at one time the Teamsters. I am a veteran of many strikes. The publicity that the writers have been producing for this strike has been fantastic. The fan supported picket lines have been amazing. The reason why the bosses are so upset about it is because they did not expect that so many people would support "elitist" writers. They thought that they would win the propaganda war.

No matter who is striking, the bosses always use the same kind of propaganda over and over again. "We are in this together... The strike is the fault of the greedy union leaders who are only interested in their own power.... The 'real' rank and file workers are on our side... They want to work with us, the bosses... We are all on the same side but the union leaders are divisive and ideological... We have the best interest of all of 'our' workers and the industry as a whole at heart." It is always the same line.

When the your bosses complain about how upset they are about the tactics and antics of your union it is because your union is getting under their skin.

Let me say, by law, by corporate by-laws the big corporations are not allowed to have their worker's interests at heart. By the corporate by-laws only profit matters and if that means screwing the workers then that is that. They are greedy because that is their job and the only thing that will change that is some kind of counter power.

Unfortunately, the truth is that the WGA alone is neither big enough nor powerful enough to be what Galbraith once called a counter-veiling power. But to slag on the union for doing something successfully, something that we non-writers that support you admire greatly is not seeing the reality of the situation.

Jerry Monaco

Admin said...

Thanks, Jerry, great response.

--Jim C.