Call to Action: Show There’s No Money in Union Busting

crossposted from over there, just because.

UPDATE 11:00pm Friday

Moguls Walk From Talks After Issuing An Ultimatum To Writers

(HT DeadlineHollywoodDaily)

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I stole borrowed that title from United Hollywood, the unofficial blog of the WGA writers. I assume you know that TV and movie writers are on strike against the AMPTP, representing the handful of mega-broadcasting/producing corporations which are colluding negotiating in common despite being competitors. The writers, well, want to be paid for their work. Even if it’s shown on them newfangled intertubes. (That’s why we’ve been deprived of the Daily Show and Colbert Report, and why my spoiler thread has changed from “lookie who’s on the TeeVee” to “Solidarity! Frat — uh, Sorority! Gossip!”)

I usually take leisurely three-day weekends off from blogging, but some dramatic new (unpleasant) rumors and an action targeting the Democratic frontrunners lured me away from my lounging couch  housework. Details & links below the fold.

First, the action. The AMPTP recently hired new PR people with significant political ties. I’ll excerpt from the UH post:

As of last week, the AMPTP retained the powerhouse “crisis management” firm of Fabiani and Lehane (known in political circles as “the Masters of Disaster.” )They also have “a reputation for hardball tactics in damage control and inflicting damage on opponents.”

This firm has built a reputation and a substantial income largely from Democratic, progressive political causes. A short list of their past employers includes Al Gore, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Michael Moore/Miramax (for Fahrenheit 9/11 and Sicko), and my personal favorite, the Screen Actors Guild. Founding partner Chris Lehane is currently a consultant for the Californians for Fair Election Reform, a major Democratic group, among other things.

They give more details, working up to:

In other words, Chris Lehane is union busting.

And since Lehane and his firm have made their fortune – and continue to make it – off of Democratic Party connections and progressive causes, I think the hypocrisy here is pretty appalling.

Below is the contact info for the three frontrunners for the Democratic presidential nomination….

Call these 3 candidates, and politely ask them to promise to hold Fabiani & Lehane accountable for what they are doing…

We’re asked to request assurance that Clinton, Obama, and Edwards not reward union-busters Fabiani & Lehane with their business. Address info and sample text is up at UH.

There’s another action campaign that I was late in finding. Consumers4wga are posting selected addresses of companies which support the companies in the AMPTP with their advertising dollars. They’ve got sample letters, etc. Yesterday’s action focused on advertisers sponsoring streaming content online. I’ll try to keep posting new actions in the ‘non-spoiler thread’ as they turn up. Or you could do like I do and add the site to your ‘check every day’ bookmarks… don’tcha love tabs?

(Also, Firedoglake has a nifty ‘send-em’a-letter’ tool, with talking points and all. TDS/TCR aren’t listed on their pulldown list, but hey.)

And now the bad news. Er, rumors.

Nikki Finke at DeadlineHollywoodDaily published this earlier today:

EXCLUSIVE: I wish I had better news about the AMPTP-WGA contract negotiations, but I don’t. To sum up, they suck. I took extra time reporting tonight, and some very surprising developments came to light. For instance, Peter Chernin is privately telling Hollywood that the producers plan to quit the talks any day now. That they have no intention of coming back with another streaming proposal “until we are close”. And that they’ll only give a better electronic sell-through formula “at the last minute” when a contract with the writers is virtually signed.

These quiet remarks by the Fox/News Corp No. 2 are the complete opposite of what the AMPTP is telling the WGA around the bargaining table.

There’s more, of course. Including a later post reporting back-and-forth PR releases:

WGA/AMPTP War Of Words: Who’ll Blink?

WGAW President Patric M. Verrone and WGAE President Michael Winship today issued the following message regarding the AMPTP-WGA negotiations which appear to be breaking down…. The AMPTP immediately followed with a statement of its own (see below). Who’s telling the truth? I think from these dueling statements the answer is clear:

The WGA reports that the AMPTP hasn’t been forthcoming with the ‘new proposals’ they promised:

They told us they would have new proposals for us Thursday. On Thursday, we met at 10am, and they told us their new proposals would be ready shortly. At 5 PM, they told us their proposals still weren’t ready, that they would be working on them late into the night, and that we should come back this morning at 10am. The fact that we saw everyone from the AMPTP leave the building by 6:45pm is not a promising sign, but we will be at the table at 10 AM this morning, ready to receive their new proposal.

and that

highly placed executives have been telling some of our writers that the companies are preparing to abruptly cut off negotiations. They say the companies plan to accuse the WGA of stalling and being unwilling to negotiate, and that the companies will use that as an excuse to walk out.

The AMPTP release says that… the WGA has been stalling.

Well, it may not be that bad. I guess we’ll see.

(and here are a couple other links. Just so I don’t have to keep them around to write about later.)

But let’s end up with some good old-fashioned rabble-rousing:


Nikki Finke at Deadline Hollywood Daily is reporting:

Talks Day #8: Moguls Walk From Talks After Issuing An Ultimatum To Writers

UPDATE: Let me recap what happened tonight, first and foremost. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers around 5 PM today put a list of demands on the bargaining table for the Writers Guild Of America. But the WGA described it as a take-it-or-leave-it “ultimatum.” Then an hour later the reps for the studios and networks quit the negotiations and issued a statement blaming the writers for the breakdown in talks. “Under no circumstances will we knowingly participate in the destruction of this business.” But the writers said their side considers the talks are still ongoing and they aren’t going to stop negotiating. Then the WGA issued its own statement saying “We remain ready and willing to negotiate, no matter how intransigent our bargaining partners are, because the stakes are simply too high.”

In short, things are back to being a big mess.

letter from WGA to membership and other info at United Hollywood.

(If you’re into being obsessive about keeping up — like I’ve become — these are the two essential sites.)

Yay Friday.  


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  1. those other Chanukah essays.  

  2. … but when I read this I had a memory flash of an old Rosalind Russell movie, where she would be a dashing reporter by day and do the evening gown thing at “21” afterwards, lol.  (Of course, now updated to the toobz!)  

    Great action links and ease of reference.

    And great citizen journalism, Tia Rachel!  You have earned those latkes!  Not to mention the lounging chair!

  3. digby on the WGA strike.

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