Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Union Discipline

Now with Add On.

Baad Joan.

"Fashion Police," meet the writer police: The Writers Guild of America East has called for internal charges against Joan Rivers in the dispute with the writers of her E! series.

The Council of the Writers Guild of America, East voted last week to send charges filed against Rivers, a longtime member of WGAE, to a hearing before a three-person trial board.

The union alleges that Rivers violated its rules by writing and performing showrunner duties for the show. Writers Guild members have been on strike against "Fashion Police," since April 17. The writers say they are less than the industry standard and receive no health or pension benefits. ....

So there will be harsh words and angry recriminations, and hopefully the difficulty will be hashed out.

TAG brought a number of artists up on charges during the 1980s for working non-union. The board trials went on for weeks, and there were not a lot of good feelings in the room. (I was one of the trial board members.)

In the end, the board let a lot of folks off with wrist slaps, but it was till angry and contentious. We had to go back and redraft chunks of the Animation Guild constitution after the hearings. It's not all cut-and-dried legal stuff, there's also the political dynamic, as there will be for the Joan Rivers thing.

But there's always a political dynamic. Just look at the Supreme Court.

Add On: Ms. Rivers' spokespersons say it's E that's the bad player here, not Joan.

Joan River’s reps haven’t heard anything from anyone at the WGA about the TV host violating union rules and any trial board hearing over her role on Fashion Police. And even if they had, they say the union is going after the wrong party. “Other than a press release, nothing has been filed by the WGA,” River’s personal manager Larry Thompson told me today after the union’s announcement this morning. “We have received no communication, notice or any paperwork from anyone at the union. Joan has stated clearly, and E! Networks has repeatedly reconfirmed that Joan supports the Fashion Police writers who are hired by E! Networks Productions, not her. This is an issue between E! and the WGA. She is on-air talent.”


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