The WGA Strike





Alot of information coming from the media will often
distort the truth about the WGA (Writers
Guild of America) strike. Not surprising
since the media outlets are owned by the very
coprarations that the writers are striking against
so....in an attempt to clarify the goals of the WGA,
the facts that support the strike and why it's
important that the strike occur I'm sending out this
post.


As a member of SAG (Screen Actors Guild) I am affected
by the out come of this current negotiation. In June
the contract for SAG expires and the outcome of this
negotiation will set a precedent for ours.

We are living in a time when greater greater amounts
of our entertainment is now being streamed through the
internet. Just ask anyone who owns an ipod. Gone are
the days when you could only see a free rerun of your
favorite show on network television. More and more
networks are streaming their shows free of charge on
their ad sponsored sites. The networks are making the
ad revenue. The writers and actors are seeing none.
Currently writers see 3 cents for the sale of a DVD
that costs 60 cents to make and retails for 19.99. The
writers are looking for an increase to 6 cents after
profit. The studios are bragging to their shareholders
about an increase in profits from DVD and internet and
not sharing the profit with the very people who
created the content.

The WGA is just seeking fairness, this is not about
greed.

At any given time only 20% of WGA are employed. That
means the other 80% are trying to feed their families
on residuals. With network residuals shrinking and no
money coming from new media (DVD, internet,
cellphones) making ends meet will be harder and
harder.

Below is an excerpt from a letter written by a member
of the WGA. His words can better express what is
happening and why.

THE REALITY OF THE WGA STRIKE
(A letter from WGA member)

"As most of you know the Writer's Guild of America (of
which I am a proud member) is set to go on strike at
one minute after midnight tomorrow. There has been a
lot of negative and false information fed to the press
lately about how the average WGA member makes over
200K per year and that the guild is being unreasonable
in its contract negotiations...The reality is NONE of
this is true. What is true is that the average Guild
member makes 5K per year from his or her writing
services, the average Guild member is middle class,
and the average Guild member has been financially
taken advantage of for the past two decades to the
point of embarrassment.

The other big reality is that the future of ALL film
and television is INTERNET bound, a paid advertising
medium for which each and every Guild member currently
has ZERO financial participation. With entertainment
industry executives and studios raking in exponential
profits every year and hiding much of those profits
through creative accounting and fuzzy math, it is
ESSENTIAL that, as members of the WGA, we stand up for
what is only reasonable and just. The studios have
forced us into this position through their greed and
hubris. The attitude at the executive level often is
that these movies and TV shows write themselves when
in reality the obscene profits they are making always
start with us, the writers.

The WGA has always been a strong union. We were the
first to win pension and health plans which then
enabled all of our brother and sister unions to win
the same. What we are asking for now (a fair and
reasonable share of the profits and participation in
the internet) is essential to our livelihood and the
survival of this union. The studios are trying to
divide us and eventually it is their goal to break us
wide open."

I believe in unions. They are one of the most sacred
American institutions. The workers right to organize
so as to not be taken advantage of by corporations. As
an artist who supports a family with my art I am
grateful to have a union that provides protection,
health care and a pension. It is a good thing. Here's to hoping that cooler heads prevail on both
sides and we have a short strike. No one wants it to go long.

Thanks for reading.

Written By Todd Stashwisk

Todd Stashwick was born in Chicago and raised in the suburbs right outside of the city. As a child he always had one eye on trying to make people laugh and working in Chicago at The Second City. Work in television and film drew him to Los Angeles where he shot several pilots and series including recurring work on the series M.D.s, American Dreams, Rodney and Still Standing. Recently he completed roles in the features You, Me And Dupree and The Air I Breathe as well as an NBC pilot entitled Community Service opposite Jay Mohr. He will soon appear on the second season of the FX series The Riches opposite Minnie Driver and Eddie Izzard.

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The WGA Strike