There’s a lot of talk out there about a WGA writer’s strike. The WGA and the producers are talking. They're not talking. Then talking again. The Union has asked for a strike authorization vote, something they NEED to have at the negotiation table by the way. It doesn’t mean they want a strike, it means the membership is standing together. A good thing.
I’ve never made it a secret, nor should I have, that I am NOT in the WGA yet. Everything I’ve done, I have done non-union. It’s just what’s been offered and what I’ve done. Will I join when I finally get a Union job? Damn skippy. Until then, I’m not there yet. And I’ve had a great career so far doing non-union jobs, I’m not going to hide that, but again I’ve also never been offered a Union job or sold a script to a Union shop.
I also believe in Union protection. And have since I became a member of SAG/Aftra over 20 years ago.
That said I want to give my personal perspective on a potential WGA writer’s strike as a non-member.
I completely support it if that’s what they vote for after negotiations fail. And if I’m in LA while it’s on, I’ll probably march with my friends who are members.
I also fervently hope it doesn’t happen at all. That cool heads will prevail on every side and a fair contract is pounded out.
The point, however, of this particular blog is not about whether a strike happens or not, but about non-union writers reaction to it. I want to be clear about this because for any writer you need to hear it:
This strike is NOT the way for you to break in. Period. To try and use the backs of the writers who blazed the way for you is the height of disrespect, first of all, and to think you can scab your way to success, secondly, is downright short sided and stupid.
Yes, you can maybe get something out of it for yourself in the short term, but long term? You’ve painted, rightfully, a big ass target on your back. And if you don’t think the Union won’t notice or know, you live in Fantasyland. Or remember? Yes, they will. As they should.
The WGA exists because of all the writers out there who’d write for free if they were given the chance. It exists because writers were taken advantage of in the infancy of the film and TV business and writers needed a way to collectively bargain for their rights. Otherwise, those big paydays you dream about as an unproduced screen or television writer? They wouldn’t exist at all. You need to thank and support these writers and the Union, not think of it as an opportunity.
Every writer, union or not, needs to make their own decisions on how they’d handle a work stoppage. I’ve made mine. I stand with my friends and the Union I am not yet a part of but fully expect to be in at some point in the future. As should you. Greed and selfishness for your own gain in a situation like this hurts everyone and in the long run, even you.
I get the producer’s side, too. They aren’t the enemy. Without them none of us have a job, union or not. And I understand any contract negotiation has to include a lot of posturing on both sides. My wish is no one is so intractable as to not come to an mutually agreed upon settlement.
Yep. I really hope there’s not a strike. I don’t want to see my friends suffer financially. I don’t want the industry to suffer. I don’t want my friends who are producers to go through this again. I don’t want to see the long term animosity the last strike caused. But if it happens?
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