Well, this strike is just about over. I went into this membership meeting anxious, but also recalcitrant. I only received the summarized points of of the new agreement an hour or so before the meeting. So, fairly pissed off, I bombed down to Times Square and the took my seat in the Crowne Plaza Hotel ballroom to listen to a summarized presentation of what I expected to be an old fashioned Hollywood Ass-Fucking, as the old-time Sammy Glick sort might have postulated, by our erstwhile Negotiating Committee.
Instead, I left fairly impressed, relieved and hopeful.
We didn’t get everything we wanted. Didn’t get a lot of what we wanted, actually. And we certainly didn’t get as much as we damn well deserved. 17 days of what’s now called a promotional window to watch programs online without having to pay writers their justly due residuals is odious in my opinion… even if the studios maintain that TiVo and DVR watching has changed the way viewers watch programming for the first/initial time.
But I can and will support my leadership and vote to ratify this deal.
We established jurisdiction over new media and digital delivery. We got a decent number off of the holy distributor’s gross for internet rentals, electronic sell through, etc. Most important, we stood together, we stood strong, and we got far more than they ever thought they’d have to give us. I didn’t believe this was possible when this strike hit the streets, but I do believe it now.
Bottom line, before this deal, if/when you bought or rented THE TRIPPER on iTunes or Apple TV, I got, as my Italian grandmother would say, “Ungots!”
Now, I get a piece of the distributor’s pie, as I and my co-writer rightly deserve.
Terry George, writer/director of IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER and HOTEL RWANDA and tough-as-nails member of the WGAE Negotiating Committee described the alternative to not taking this deal today, at our maximum point of leverage: nuclear winter. In his own words, this man (a former IRA member) negotiated terms with the British Army and he never faced down such a cold, soulless adversary as he did in the AMPTP.
There was a bit of a schism in the room over whether to support the Neg Com in immediately lifting the strike action and ending the pickets so everyone could get back to work on Monday.
But many of us said fuck that — we want the 48 hours our constitution allows for an expedited vote. In the interest of solidarity, which we achieved and maintained in never-heard-of-before fashion during this work stoppage, this seemed to be the prevailing course of action. It seems the WGAW meeting fell out in similar fashion.
Back to work, likely, on Wednesday (or, in my case, to trying to set up a new project and find a job) after a hastened vote on Monday by the looks of things. Nobody told us what to do. I’m very proud of that. The media was reporting “Back To Work Monday” and we threw them a justified curve. It happened first, on the East Coast, amongst the WGAE like so much has happened by, for and to us before the sun rose on Los Angeles and those wearing t-shirts instead of parkas could hit the picket lines.
I’m pleased we stood together this last time. It puts us in the best position possible going forward, with an eye on our next contract (which would need to be banged out, if not struck over, in May, 2011 btw).
And I am intensely proud to be a member of the strong, victorious WGAE.