Writers’ Strike Continues as Foreign Colleagues Sympathize
Film and television writers walked the picket line in front of Manhattan’s Time Warner Center for the 24th episode of industry-wide strikes during a day of international writers’ solidarity on Wednesday.
Members of the Writers Guild of America carried signs emphasizing their determination to continue the strike and handed out leaflets announcing global support for the union whose representatives went into a third straight day of labor talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Meanwhile writers in countries like Britain, France, Germany and Australia gathered in support for their American colleagues, according to several press reports.
“I really appreciate that our foreign colleagues show their solidarity with us today,” said Rob Dubbin, a staff writer for the “Colbert Report,” about the global campaign that was declared by the International Affiliation of Writers Guilds.
Courtney Simon, a writer for the soap opera “As the World Turns,” echoed Dubbin’s comments. “It is great to know that this union is alive and well. It is satisfying to see others commit to our cause,” she said.
As the multicolored leaflets pointed out, writers in other nations like Canada and the United Kingdom have already acquired the media rights their U.S. counterparts are demanding, a fact that gives the Americans hope the protests will be successful.
“I think it is inspiring to see that there are other places we can look at as models,” said Dubbin, who, like his more than 12,000 fellow union members, has been on strike since Nov. 5.
The American television and big screen writers are demanding a bigger share on DVD residuals, compensation for their work delivered through new media such as the Internet and smart phones, and an inclusion of reality and animation programming under their jurisdiction.
The labor talks between the writers’ union and the producer alliance had resumed behind closed doors on Monday after a three-week standstill that began with strikes, which have forced several television shows like the “Colbert Report” on hold.
“I certainly would much rather be working now. Karl Rove said yesterday that Congress pushed us into war. I really miss my job,” Dubbin said about a missed opportunity for political satire he usually writes for Colbert. “But the people who are out here are the ones who really love the job,” Dubbin added.
Adam Brooks, a screenwriter and adjunct film professor at the Columbia University School of Arts, said he owed his participation to future writers. “The reason I have a health plan and residuals is because of writers who long before me stood on the picket line. Now it’s my turn,” Brooks said.
Simon, who had also participated in the last writers’ strike in 1988, said while she would like the strike to be over immediately she sees a new drive among the writers. “We are speaking with one collective voice. It wasn’t like this in 1988,” she said.
Simon added, however, that most writers are longing to go back to work and have set up blogs to vent their creative energy. “We are all just so dying to go back and do what we do.”