Is the WGA-East itching for another strike?

by Paul William Tenny

WGA Strike
2008 WGA Strike

Something like this ought to be taken with a grain of salt, because posturing is an accepted part of the process. But still, either Variety or some members of the Writers Guild of America East are already laying the groundwork for the possibility of another writers strike next year.

I don't believe that'll happen for the record. There's just too much at stake to go hard and fast for new gains at all costs with the economy in the gutter. Don't get me wrong, there's plenty the WGA needs to go after in the next two contract negotiations, but it's ridiculous and self destructive to play hardball from a weak position. Right now, everyone on the talent side is in a weak position. There have always been more people than jobs in Hollywood and it's worse than usual these days.

And that really stinks seeing as how the WGA was right and everyone else telling them to shut up and cave three years ago was wrong. There's a piece in the New York Times about the big cable companies losing subscribers for the first time ever, and a week doesn't go by when we don't hear about the mythical "cord/cable cutters" that are leaving cable and satellite television for the Internet via Hulu, Netflix, and whoever else comes along.

We're not there yet, where Internet streaming will replace television, but the WGA was right in 2007 to take a hard stand against the studios to gain rights for writers for streaming media. The WGA said back then that streaming media was the future and that if writers didn't get a foothold then, didn't establish their right to a fair share of the profits, then they never would.

Site's like Hulu claimed not to be making any money three years ago, and yet that company is on the verge of going public with a billion dollar valuation this year. They were dishonest then and it's a good bet they'll continue to BS about it in the future. The WGA has to take a stand on streaming media and it really is a shame for many different reasons that next year can't be the year they make it happen.

Regardless, I covered the strike back then and if it comes to it, I'll cover it again next year. Stay tuned..

in Labor


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