Saturday, December 15, 2007

New Wrinkle in the Writers Strike

A little over a week ago, writer Robert J. Elisberg posed the question on The Huffington Post, "Why is the WGA negotiating with the AMPTP?" He puts it thusly:

"The AMPTP is like if General Motors, Ford, Daimler-Chrysler, Toyota, Honda and Nissan all got together, decided the terms they would offer employees, and then negotiated as a single body against one isolated division of U.S. auto workers at a time. Divide and conquer. Take it or leave it."
Makes a lot of sense to me. What has always rankled me about the negotiations between the WGA and the AMPTP is the inference of an employee/employer relationship. What if the WGA drew up its MBA and said to the studios and networks, if you want to work with J. J. Abrams, Akiva Goldsmith, Shonda Rimes or Robin Swicord, etc.--you need to agree to our basic terms. Now it seems the WGA is heading in that direction by offering to negotiate individual deals with each of the 350 signatory companies.

I think this is fucking brilliant. What was looking like an attempt by the media moguls to crush and break the WGA now may turn out to break the AMPTP's united front instead. According to Nikki Finke, it may be next to impossible to get the media moguls to break ranks--but if even one of the big nine took the bait, the others would be forced to follow or lose their competitive edge.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

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