Monday, December 17, 2007

Turf War?

The L.A. Times has an article in its business section this morning about the back-and-forth between the IATSE and the WGA ...

It has a remarkably ugly photograph of me, but after you get your gag reflex under control, it summarizes some of the ongoing issues:

animation writers are not employed under the same Writers Guild of America contracts that cover live-action movies and TV programs. With the exception of a handful of prime-time animated shows on Fox, animation largely falls under the jurisdiction of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, a rival union not on strike -- or no union at all ...

The Times article notes, correctly I think, that the WGA had leverage when they organized The Simpsons:

The writers of "The Simpsons" had a powerful ally: James L. Brooks, executive producer of the show, which has made billions in syndication and licensing revenue for Fox.

Also, James Brooks is a high-profile WGA member. If he's hostile to his writer-employees working under a Writers Guild contract, there's a problem.

But this goes back to the drum I've been beating here the last twelve or eighteen months: When a union has leverage, it succeeds, and when it doesn't, the result is "no contract." Or a lesser contract.

Simple as that.


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