By Besha Rodell
By Patrick Range McDonald
By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
That’s also why it was so adolescent of the AMPTP on Tuesday, after days and days of silence, to suddenly issue a jejune rant from president Nick Counter about how the WGA is using “fear and intimidation” to control its membership by asking members “to inform on each other and create a blacklist of those who question the tactics of the WGA leadership. It’s as unacceptable today as it was when the WGA opposed these tactics in the 1950s.”
The alliance is upset over what it sees as a “rat squad” — a WGA Strike Rules Compliance Committee composed of 12 members whose mission is to investigate allegations that writers are strikebreaking or scab writing. I heard complaints from writers right after the walkout began about how unnerving it was to have strike captains on their own staff scrutinize their every move. On the other hand, it’s rather naive of the AMPTP to think the WGA wouldn’t enforce strike discipline. That’s just Labor 101.
Also naive is the hope that Arnold Schwarzenegger can mediate a settlement. Given the Governator’s past attitudes toward writers (saying to hell with them when he was an actor), his recent comments (equating writers with rich studio heads), and his anti-union political activities (trying to limit unions’ political clout during his first term), he doesn’t even know what middle ground is. Worse, he’s owned by the Hollywood moguls who gave big bucks to his re-election campaign. It’s mere PR that he’s scheduled a few meetings. Hell, with the AMPTP so obstinate, the WGA would accept an offer from Linda Hamilton to help restart talks.
However, there is a glimmer of hope that agents can bring the WGA and AMPTP back within spitting distance. I’ve learned that certain tenpercenters are “really in the middle of this right now” with a partner in one of the major Hollywood agencies having conversations with WGA negotiating-committee topper Dave Young, while at the same time a partner at a different major agency is lobbying AMPTP’s Counter.
On my DeadlineHollywoodDaily.com, I urged Hollywood to “Bring on the Agents.” Hell, these people negotiate for a living. They could do the deal at Craft before the appetizer was cleared and the entrée served. The tenpercenters just had the worst week ever dealing with striking clients who’d been threatened with lawsuits, or suspended, or crying on the phone out of fear for what would happen to them. With negotiations at a standstill, the agency partners offered to do anything possible as a “collective resource.” I’d rather see progress making news than picket lines.
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