Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Strike Day 95 (20 A.D.)

I have to admit something...

Since the day the strike began, this is the first time I feel like I'm on slightly shaky ground.

As I've said before, I didn't vote to go on strike and did not want to go on strike.

But as I've outlined in great detail over these past few months, the behavior of the other side in this confrontation has really, really pissed me off.

But so what? What do you expect will happen when you are locked in desperate conflict that will determine how billions of dollars will get divvied up -- that people will play nice?

The bottom line remains, sooner or later we will go back to work. That's what I want to do -- and what every single writer I've walked alongside on the picket lines for the past ninety-odd days wants. Who wouldn't?

But will the deal be good enough?

Who knows. It's impossible to know. Not until we get to see it.

Who would make an offer on a house -- or walk away from a chance to buy a house in a neighborhood where you knew you wanted to live -- before visiting it at least once?

My ruminations lead to a question -- and it's this question that leads me to feel like I'm on somewhat shaky ground...

Why are the leaders of our guild in such a rush to get us back to work?

I guess the answer is obvious: that's their job, right? Shouldn't it be?

Yes, of course it should.

It just seems like they're falling all over each other trying to get us back to the office this coming Monday, before we officially vote on the new contract.

Why? Well, let's see... in order to:




Well, those are two good reasons. As someone with two pilots still alive at two different networks, it hits close to home. But you know what? I don't have much confidence that either of them will end up getting done this "season," since my partner and I haven't worked on them during the strike. I guess this is a legit reason -- but it's not more important than getting a fair deal.

As far as number two -- saving the Oscars -- goes... well, I really don't think this should matter at all to us. Sure, it will be a bummer if the Oscars have to be cancelled because of the strike, or if they go on and are a crippled version of their usual self, but... so what? What does that matter to us? We've been out on the picket lines waiting for the other side to give us half a version of a fair deal for three fucking months. If they still don't want to give us a fair deal, then fuck the Oscars. I really couldn't care much less. It's not our decision, not our call. It's theirs -- the AMPTP's -- just like it always has been.

Give us something halfway decent and the strike will end. Refuse to do so and the strike will go on. All the way until July 1st, when 100,00 SAG members can join us out on the picket lines.

Well, one of those reasons kind of counts for something -- saving whatever may be left of this year's pilot season may help to possibly preserve pilot seasons in general, which is probably good for writers in general. Still, it's not more important than getting a fair deal.

Of course, all of this comes down to what equals "fair."

You have to assume the leadership really thinks this deal they're about to bring us is, at the very least, fair.

It just seems like there's a reasonable argument for giving us more time to figure that out for ourselves before shutting down the picket lines.

If you ask me, the moment we put our picket signs down and head back to our offices, this whole thing is over.

How many of us are going to be heading back out to the sidewalks to start picketing again, when and if we realize the deal really isn't what it was cracked up to be?

Not enough, that would be my prediction.

But these are the guys who led us out on strike -- in fact they are the ones who spent two years leading us towards the strike.

Why would they suddenly change tacks...?

There has been some word on the picket lines regarding the answer to this question.

It involves a couple of members of the leadership -- one from the Executive Board and one from the Negotiating Committee -- both of whom are incredibly successful, one from the TV world and one from the feature film world, and both of whom told their colleagues that if they didn't accept some version of the DGA deal within the next two weeks, they would publicly break with the leadership and go "Financial Core."

But would the possibility of a public rebuke by and loss of just two -- or four or even ten -- high-powered writers and showrunners really terrorize the leadership to the point that they would run ragged towards ending the strike, no matter what?

I don't think so. But you never know.

What I do know is that I don't think we'll accept a crappy deal.

If it includes legitimate improvements beyond what the DGA got on a number of fronts, then yes, we will express our approval.

If it doesn't... well, then it is going to be one hell of an interesting meeting.

As my partner is fond of saying, this strike was much scarier three months ago -- in theory -- than it is now, as a day-to-day reality. I know a lot of writers are suffering. I know a lot of other people all throughout the industry are suffering too. But the point is... we're in the most powerful position the WGA has had in over twenty years. Today more than thirteen-hundred people showed up on the picket lines all around town. Were a lot of them there because they were excited and energized by the idea of going back to work on Monday...?

Maybe so. But if the deal sucks, then I am going to get up and say so -- and so are a lot of other people.

If it's fair -- awesome! Let's head back to work on Monday.

But if not -- or if we can't really tell either way, which could also be the case -- then now is not the time to bend over backwards in order to lend a hand across troubled waters.

Not unless the other side is holding a fair deal in its hand.

Show up tomorrow at Disney, to let the companies know we're still out there -- and ready to stay out there for as long as it takes -- even if that means coming back to picket on Monday.

***BLOGGER'S NOTE: I've added some new pics, so make sure you scroll down to the bottom of the blog, even if you've already read the posts below.***

And Devon -- if you stop by -- the e-mail address you left with your comment DIDN'T WORK, so please check it for typos and leave a corrected version!


Devon said...

You were MIA when I showed up on Wednesday! I couldn't find you! The gate was EMPTY ha.

Brooklyn scribe said...

Leave your e-mail address again -- I sent two emails your way and both were returned by "mailer daemon."

We were there. Maybe you were there before us or after we left, but we were there.

Leave me your CORRECT e-mail address!