November 5th, 2007


Go, Writers, Go!

I am glad to see the writers fighting for the compensation they deserve! Since they do their work behind the scenes it seems like they never get the recognition or compensation at a level they deserve. They are right to insist on a piece of the increasingly lucrative internet market since it won't be long before we get more of our shows via computer than on cable or the airwaves.

ETA--for more information about the strike and the issues associated with it:

Listen to this horror story

and you'll fully understand why the writers have to strike and strike now!

You'll hear that writers make 200K a year--don't believe it. There are always a few high paid people that hide the many others who are making anywhere from 5K to a more reasonable middle class income. shows come and go, so do their jobs, and the residuals from re-running their shows are what keep them and their families going in between those jobs. If they are shut out of internet residuals, as they are presently, and yet all or most of our content shifts to the internet, certainly most of the re-runs, what's going to keep them going during the lean times? And as the writers go, so will the actors and other guild members throughout the industry. That's why many producers are supporting them in this strike.

Some believe the very existence of the Guild is at stake--and with it the pension and health benefits its members need.

If you happen to live in New York or L.A. and have any time, drop by and offer your support, bring some refreshments, or pick up a sign and help them picket.

I wish I could be there.

More on the issues:

If the Guild does not conduct a successful strike now, in years to come emboldened companies will force rollbacks on a demoralized Guild - and the net cost of not striking could be gigantic. Collectively, Guild members presently earn $260 million a year in residuals, all of which could be lost in the near future as downloads and streaming media replace DVDs and second-run broadcasts. That money, split among 12,000 members, is what feeds our families and sustains our health coverage when we as freelance workers are in between jobs (which, for the average writer, is a fact of life.)

But the loss of those residuals has already started happening to the writers on Lost and Heroes, where the second network telecast has been replaced by internet streaming – for which the companies offer nothing.

If the Guild doesn't strike over this, any rational company next time around will insist the Guild give up its health and pension plans, and then its minimums.

Carleton Eastlake

Behind the cut, a teamster weighs in on how this issue affects him and why he supports the strike.
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