My thoughts on fi-core

by Paul William Tenny

I figure I'll pontificate a little bit while my satellite Internet connection is down (rain) for who knows how long, on an issue I find interesting, conflicting, and vitally important to talk about: financial-core.

Fi-core is a labor term used to define a person who refuses to pay their union dues for political activities they disagree with. That's not politics in the traditional sense, but instead refers to the unions organizing tactics.

People who do this aren't bound by hardly any union rules, don't have to obey a strike, yet still benefit from all the things they fight against when the union signs new contracts -- which fi-core members can't vote against, because put simply, they can't vote at all.
John Ridley has recently gone fi-core, which has stirred up some debate about whether or not these people should be ostracized for stabbing their fellow writers in the back, or respected but mostly ignored.

Put simply, I don't think fi-core members ought to be allowed to benefit from the results of a contract they won't help fund and fight for, but there's no legal or practical way to make that happen. There's little personal sacrifice to making that choice and yet the damage to the union and the cause is considerable.

Yet, I actually agree that it's something that needs to exist. You see, membership in the WGA is compulsory to a degree. If you do something that qualifies then you either join, you can't work again in that system until you do. It's shitty, but the only way a union has leverage.

Thus, if you don't like unions and what they do, you can go "fi-core" and only contribute what is required to make the guild function, and can pretty much go your own way for the most part.

John Ridley did this, as was his right, and I respect his decision because he did it for precisely the reason the right exists in the first place: he doesn't like the guild, its elected leadership, their strategy, or what they are doing.

I don't know this either way, but I wouldn't be surprised if he voted against the strike to begin with.

That said, the goals of fi-core members don't have to be exclusive of the goals of regular membership. Ridley can go fi-core if it suits him, he is welcome and encouraged (by me) to air his concerns publicly, and if he chooses he can go back to work.

In my mind, that last part is what defines him and the people who choose that path. It's not going fi-core that makes you a back stabbing, self centered weasel, it's the going-back-to-work part.

Ridley can disagree with what Patric Verrone and David Young have done and are doing, and the guy is certainly entitled to his opinions in a great many things more than just that.

However, he could still choose to support his brethren by staying at home during the strike until they get a fair deal. Protest all you want John, run against the leadership if you think you can do better (oh wait, you can't now..) but what defines you is what you've done after you've made your point.

For holding true to his ideas and his principles and going fi-core, John Ridley has my respect. For breaking the line and offering to go back to work, he's a piece of crap that doesn't deserve earn to a check for writing ever again.
in Labor


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