Saturday, September 17, 2011

WGA Elections

The Nikkster, bellowing from the grandstands, is not super happy with the outcome of this year's Writers Guild elections.

Strike Leader Patric Verrone Sidelined

Hollywood will be strike-free for at least another 2 years. The Writers Guild of America, West, just announced its 2011 Officers and Board of Directors after a surprisingly not-even-close election that turned a bit nasty towards the end. Newcomer Chris Keyser as President will continue outgoing John Wells’ moderate leadership of the once hardline Writers Guild West. ...

Today’s loss by Verrone shows an unwillingness by the WGA membership to pursue a tough stance with the Big Media studios and networks anytime soon. ... Hey, the Hollywood guilds get the leadership they deserve.

What this indicates to me is that above-the-line union membership (SAG, DGA, WGA) is as wary of militancy and threats of strikes right now as many TAG members who I encounter.

Over the past three years, one of the refrains I've heard from artists at studios is: "Hey, I'm working near scale, but I'm working. I'm just glad to have a job." Three years ago, the economy went down. Unemployment nationwide is still up there, and it's only been in the last fifteen months that television animation has come back in a major way. (Television work for live-action writers has yet to come back.)

Everybody is uncomfortably aware that we live in corporatist times. And that to stand up to large corporations at this moment in history is a brave, daring and often risky act. The eagerness for risk-taking is not, just now, as high as even a baby elephant's eye.


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