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AMPTP keeps its promises: Another press release

The AMPTP has shifted the spin war into high gear.

It’s making good on its promise Wednesday morning to put out lots of information — or, as they put it, “to explain our position at every opportunity and promptly refute, with facts, the mistaken assumptioins made by the WGA’s spokespeople.”

First, AMPTP spokesman Jesse Hiestand issued a statement as to why negotiations fell apart on Friday evening. 

“Talks between the AMPTP and WGA broke down Friday over jurisdictional demands that would expand the power of the Guild’s organizers and have little bearing on the issues that matter most to working writers,” he said. “The WGA’s jurisdictional demands have been rejected repeatedly in these negotiations, and in negotiations past, yet they were still front and center at Friday’s negotiating session and at the concert that WGA’s Patric Verrone attended on Friday while the negotiations were going on, as the attached video link and subsequently reported comments from Mr. Verrone demonstrate.

“For further reference on the WGA organizer’s insistence on their jurisdictional issues, see WGAW President Patric Verrone’s comment from the concert on Friday (Daily Variety, Dec. 10, 2007, “Strike’s war of words resumes“): And it’s notable that negotiations melted down a few hours after WGA West president Patric Verrone insisted at a Friday rally outside FremantleMedia’s Burbank offices that reality jurisdiction had been part of the guild’s negotiating package contract from the start and had never been taken off the table. “It will be in our next contract,” Verrone flatly told the crowd.”

The AMPTP also released another “Fact Sheet,” this one comprised entirely of quotes from the media — print, audio and online — who have been covering the strike.

FACT SHEET: REPORTS AND COMMENTS RELATED TO WHAT THE STRIKE IS REALLY ABOUT

“Writers Union Feeling The Heat” – Los Angeles Times, December 12, 2007

“…some writers — including die-hard strike supporters — are angry at Patric M. Verrone, president of the Writers Guild of America, West, and chief negotiator David Young, saying they allowed the talks to drift into less important issues, according to several guild members, some of whom asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals from the union.”

Writer Craig Mazin: “New media is the only thing that matters… It’s what the leadership went on strike for.”

“…Those sentiments are shared by a number of writers, including some on the picket lines, who have complained directly to their union leaders about taking the focus off new media.”

“There is a growing group of writers who are burning up over this,” said one top writer and strong supporter of the strike who asked not to be identified.

“Air Talk,” KPCC, December 11, 2007

Steven, a researcher for a late-night TV talk show, who has been laid off for a couple of weeks because of the strike stated:

“And while I am sympathetic to the writers, as they are creative people, and I am no friend of the producers, I am really am pissed off at the writers. They are an elite group. These are not people who are really suffering, especially when they use in the WGA communiqué announcements the language of the labor movements, like saying they are fighting the corporate conglomerates on behalf of us all. They’ve got to remember they are extremely educated people with plenty of opportunities.  They make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. I make $11 an hour plus overtime doing my job. I’m out of work; it doesn’t seem that these people care about anybody else. When they talk this way about the labor movement, they’ve got to remember that they are not the Molly Maguires fighting the Pinkertons, they are not the ladies garment workers having to jump off the Triangle Shirtwaist building, they are not like the IWW fighting for the eight-hour day. These are people who make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. I see the fight as a bunch of upper-middle-class people fighting a bunch of rich people and hurting a lot of us who work for paycheck-to-paycheck like myself.”

Samantha, a below-the-line worker who is out of work, stated:

“…we have been completely decimated. I am in a union, in the Costume Designer’s Guild. It’s not that we don’t support all of our brothers and sisters, but the rhetoric has been all about the middle-class union, and we will never make the money that they even have the opportunity of making…. All we really want is for people to acknowledge and that’s why we had a march Sunday out in Hollywood. The reality of the financial impact for people like us who are truly the working class unions…. I think that the people below the line is that we… they need to tone down the rhetoric and we need to be acknowledged because we are taking the bigger financial hit. We can’t go do anything else to make a living, we can’t be journalists…”

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