Strike: WGA says "no way" to Golden Globes and Oscars

Jon_l If the jokes are particularly bad at the Golden Globes on Jan. 13, blame the ongoing writers’ strike. The WGA on Monday denied a request by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and Dick Clark Prods. to allow comedy scribes to prepare material for the 65th annual ceremony on NBC. And the Globes aren’t the only ones feeling the pinch of the picket line. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences also got a big fat "no way" from the WGA when the Academy asked to use clips from motion pictures and past Oscar shows during the February event, though apparently it does not impact the organization’s ability to use them. In a statement posted Tuesday on the AMPAS website, the organization states that the WGA’s decision "affects only the conditions under which we may use such material, not our ability to do so." That could mean Oscar will have to pay to use the clips.

The WGA hasn’t officially anounced whether it’ll deny Oscar the ability to use writers to help write bon mots for host Jon Stewart, but a union insider says it is prepared to say no if and when the show applies for a waiver. As a result, Oscar may expect Stewart to do for the show what host Jimmy Kimmel did for the American Music Awards in November on ABC: improvise, bigtime. AMPAS said on its website that it has not requested a waiver to use writers for the show, "nor has the Guild told the Academy whether such a request would or wouldn’t be viewed favorably." AMPAS also reiterated the show will go on Feb. 24.

In a statement released Monday night, WGA West President Patric M. Verrone said "writers are engaged in a crucial struggle to achieve a collective bargaining agreement that will protect their compensation and intellectual property rights now and in the future. We must do everything we can to bring our negotiations to a swift and fair conclusion for the benefit of writers and all those who are being harmed by the companies failure to engage in serious negotiations." 

The AMPTP issued this response today: "In the category of Worst Supporting Union, the nominee is the WGA. The union, which initiated the strike, continues day in and day out to make good on its commitment to, in the words of a leading WGA organizer, `wreak havoc,’ even though those being hurt include the WGA’s own working writers, the below-the-line workers and their families, the broader LA region – and now the creative artists who deserve to be honored for their work over the last year."

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  • vcofrsn

    It is simply amazing to me that people tolerate this diva mentality from a union group like WGA. I would fire the lot of them and hire any number of the extremely talented non-guild writers. This ‘union’ mentality is killing the United States. People wonder why we are outsourcing so many jobs?

  • Andrea

    I agree with your diva comment. I think we the public need to have a strike against the writers or even Hollywood. After all we are the reason that people make these shows. If we didn’t watch, then there would be no showbusiness. Let’s have a strike against the writers and see how they like it when no one will watch their shows!

  • jambot

    It’s not diva mentality. They are not being paid for their work. How would you like to not get paid?

  • og oggilby

    Those of you who think writers are divas are pretty ignorant you would not work for free. They are the ones who w/out them we would have NO shows at all. And they got royally screwed on the dvd negotiation yrs ago. Why don’t you pick on the $20 million salaries paid to actors?

  • Keith

    They are getting paid… and very well at that. They just more… fewer and fewer people are watching regular entertainment in regular formats – TV, DVD… People are watching more online or via their mobile devices. And the WGA wants their share of these mediums. The problem is these are all mediums and no one really knows how commercially viable these will be. Will the be able to market these commercially or will it be more of a filler to help generate interest in the programming….
    Personally I think the writers may be in the “right” to want compensation. I just think that they should have worked out a way to allow for more time to see how things are going to develop – No one is going to win with this strike… in fact I bet many of those writers are going to find that their jobs aren’t there after this strike is over. Networks are going to find other forms of entertainment, and people are going to forget why they were watching some shows…

  • Jason

    This “union” mentality built the United States. What’s killing the United States is corporate greed and profits before people. The only way the “little” guy can fight the “big” guy is by banding together.

  • Ricardo

    “They are getting paid…and very well at that.” ?? Huh? Do you know what the average salary is for the the average television writer? The majority of them between $60-$80K, and that’s in Los Angeles, which means its not a huge amount compared to actors and producers, a lot of actors make that for doing one episode. They deserve their cut of the ad revenue from the internet, and it is there. Its painfully obvious that internet viewing is going to continue to grow. When you air an entire episode online and make money from it, its a cheap trick to call it “promotion” and say the writers don’t deserve to be compensated when their creations are making money for someone else. They deserve their cut.

  • Jasmine

    If it weren’t for unions, we all would still be working 14 hr days, like the poor unionless people who work for pennies an hour in the countries we outsource to. Unions aren’t killing the United States, greed is.

  • Sallie

    You can’t be serious, unions suck(descriptive, huh).
    I agree, hire the non union writers if possible.

  • Laura

    Payment to writers should be fair and equitable. However, when they start asking for more than that the water starts getting murky…It seems that the WGA is looking to control more than their fair share and on another subject: has anyone thought of the people who have lost their jobs as a result of this strike?

  • rerun

    It’s kind of lame they can’t show clips during the Oscars. Don’t really understand that. They can show the clips during commercials, during talk shows segments, etc, but not during the Oscars?
    And there are good and bad things about unions- we won’t settle that argument here.

  • Brant Henne

    Unions played a pretty critical role in preventing a communist uprising in the US. It sounds like you are two busy getting pissed at outsourcing to notice that. How’s this for fair – you determine what the writers earn, and then some stranger who doesn’t know jack about your life can set your salary cap. And since your here – you are obviously interested in theiur creative output. You just don’t want to deal with them, you know, as actual people with needs. I know! Lets decapitate them, put their heads on life support, Futurama style, and force them to output creative material that will bring smiles to the children’s faces. Without bodies, they’d have no way to object. Of course, we’d ahve to pay to heat their “head storage” warehouse, but I’m sure you can find a workaround.

  • Jon

    Maybe the WGA should have thought about this before there contract expired. The Directors union starts talks 6 months before there contract expires for a reason. The WGA are just idiots that think if they start talks when there contract expires they can go on strike and get more money. They need to learn it doesn’t work that way.

  • vcofrsn

    First, the average salary you quote is above the area average and much higher than an average teacher’s salary in that same area. Second, this isn’t about what the salary is exactly. It is about simple market economics. Without going into a debate on the merits of a market economy, the simple fact is that it is self normalizing when you let it run. Unions don’t let it run. They have the same effect as monopolies. People work what they are willing to work and get paid based on market demand. We are not talking about some sweat shop where people are FORCED to work 16 hour days. If you don’t think you are fairly compensated you change jobs. If the fat cats want your product they will pay for it. If you try to bend the rules in your favor and try to force people not to do ‘your’ job then you break the system. The diva mentality happens when people feel entitled to always work the same job and make what they deem an appropriate salary irregardless of market pressures.

  • Unions are destructive

    All the union supporters here talk about corporate greed–what about consumer greed? I am willing to bet that the so-called union supporters and corporate greed denouncers shop based on price rather than where an item is made. How much “made in china” stuff have you bought because the “Made in the USA” stuff is too expensive? The bottom line is that unions increase the prices on goods. Are you going to download content if you have to pay (more) for it?
    The Hollywood writers are acting like a bunch of spoiled brats. If they are so good let the marketplace determine the price they can get for their talents. That is why some actors/musicians/artists are paid huge sums but the majority of others just struggle.
    Bottom line: if you don’t like what you are getting paid then quit and find a new job that will pay you what you want (like the rest of us not living in Hollywierd) or change careers. Companies will pay top dollar to get a competitive edge, and that includes labor.

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