WGA Strike news summary Dec 13

The WGA has filed charges against the AMPTP with the National Labor Relations Board for refusal to negotiate in good faith. From the WGAe website, dated tomorrow:

Today the WGA filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board against the AMPTP for its refusal to bargain in good faith with the WGA. It is a clear violation of federal law for the AMPTP to issue an ultimatum and break off negotiations if we fail to cave to their illegal demands.

Nikki Finke will probably have more by the time I hit ‘publish.’ There’s a bit more detail here, and of course the AMPTP is calling the filing ‘desperate‘. I suppose there’ll be lots and lots of articles explaining this over the next few days — just in time to drive me nuts on Monday.

An assortment of other news, links, and actions below the fold. And we’re chatting over at dKos…

There’s a lot out there about the Director’s Guild (DGA),  due to hold its own negotiations with the AMPTP, which just released a statement saying

Because we want to give the WGA and the AMPTP more time to return to the negotiating table to conclude an agreement, the DGA will not schedule our negotiations to begin until after the New Year, and then, only if an appropriate basis for negotiations can be established. If that’s the case, then the DGA will commence formal talks in the hope that a fresh perspective and the additional pressure we can bring to bear will help force the AMPTP to settle the issues before us in a fair and reasonable manner.

I can’t decipher the spin. And it all looks like spin to me.

And MTV/Viacom gave in (somewhat) to the freelancers:

On Wednesday, the company said freelancers would be permitted to keep their current health care plans, and it extended by two months the deadline for freelancers to choose plans. The company also said it would evaluate whether some freelance positions should be converted to staff jobs.

Despite the changes, some of the freelancers walked out of work again Wednesday to chant “Shame on Viacom” and “We’re being Punk’d,” a reference to an MTV reality series.

Brian, a two-year freelancer at Nickelodeon who would give only his first name for fear of retaliation, said the protests would continue despite the changes.

“It’s better, but it’s not great,” he said. “It’s certainly not what we had before.”

Protesters said they were seeking the restoration of paid time off, tuition reimbursement and company matching for 401(k) contributions. A company spokeswoman said she anticipated no further changes to the proposed benefits package.

More round and about on that.

Our own NMRed picketed in Santa Fe, New Mexico yesterday, in what looks likethe first picket action outside of NY/CA. It seems more pickets are planned.

There are photos of today’s Viacom-NYC picket up on WGAE. Also, the Naked Cowboy. In freezing rain. As whoever wrote the site post said,

Bless you for the strength of your example, Naked Cowboy. Bless you.

This Bloomberg article generated some pointed commentary:

While striking writers and Hollywood studios are still negotiating a contract, CBS Corp. Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves has a honey of a new one.

Nikki Finke’s headline is “Big Media Gluttony: Moonves’ New CBS Contract Pays 200% Above Other CEOs,” and UnitedHollywood had to explain their snark, saying

The point here is that the companies can not claim poverty or claim that compensating workers fairly will “destroy the industry” while, in the case of CBS, they are compensating one man — in one year — twenty-one times what it would cost CBS to compensate the entire union everything in its proposal over three years. (The WGA propsal would cost CBS only $4.6 million per year.)

And I think I’m down to the ellipses now. A bit more on the financial effects of the strike on the networks… a  discussion of the AMTPT’s ‘hissy fits’a couple posts about the Reality show/Animation writers issue, including a historical perspective worth reading… some other open tabs I can now delete (seriously, Firefox just warked me that I’m opening 25 tabs)…

Here’s something new. UH reports that the Teamsters are helpingFed Ex employees unionize…