Letter from WGA East prexy Michael Winship: ‘Full-throated solidarity’

This message was sent out today by WGA East prexy Michael Winship:Main_logo

Dear Fellow Members of the Writers Guild of America, East:

By now you’ve heard the great news that leaders from the Guilds and the AMPTP have mutually agreed to resume formal negotiations on Monday, November 26. This would have been impossible without your extraordinary hard work and support.

During the more than 25 years that I’ve been involved with this union I have never seen such wholehearted, full-throated solidarity among our members, such devotion and dedication to one another. You realize that a portion of revenues from the Internet and new media is crucial to our
mutual survival as writers; that for us, this is the fight of our creative lives.

You have turned out on the picket lines in droves. You’ve attended meetings, volunteered to write articles and produced ingenious and savagely funny viral videos. You have made phone calls and helped out in our office, you’ve made yourselves available for media interviews.
You’ve even baked cookies for your friends and colleagues on the picket. Thank you.

In New York this week, we’ve had three effective actions putting the spotlight on the corporate conglomerates that dominate film and television production. Together, these companies – General Electric, Time Warner, Walt Disney, News Corp, Sony, CBS and Viacom — reported
2006 revenues of more than 350 BILLION dollars. All we’re asking for, in a fair and respectful contract, is a minute fraction of those big bucks.

On Tuesday, we were in the financial district, picketing and leafleting the moneyed men and women of Wall Street. Wednesday brought a huge crowd to the World of Disney store on Fifth Avenue, where we delivered a loud and pointed message to the House of Mouse. And Thursday, despite rain and chill, you showed up in force to demonstrate outside the corporate headquarters of Viacom, owners of Paramount, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and MTV.

Joining us this week were many of our stalwart union allies, including friends from SAG, AFTRA, Actors Equity, and the DGA, as well as Denis Hughes, president of the New York State AFL-CIO, and Randi Weingarten, president of the United Federation of Teachers. We continue to receive letters of support from creative unions around the world, and this week, at the annual meeting of the International Affiliation of Writers Guilds (IAWG) in Montreal, an International Day of Solidarity was declared for Wednesday, November 28. Writers in our support will
demonstrate in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, English and French Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico and France.

Also this week, two opinion surveys reported that the American public strongly backs the writers. A Pepperdine University national poll found that 63% of the public is on our side, 4% percent back the studios and 33% were unsure. In a poll of Los Angeles residents, conducted by
SurveyUSA, 69% supported us and 8% the AMPTP.

The welcome return to negotiations is a result of all of this public pressure, attention and activity. But we still have a long way to go. Remember, until further notice, WE ARE STILL ON STRIKE.

As my companero in California, Patric Verrone, wrote his members in the West last night, “Our work is not done until we achieve a good contract and that is by no means assured. Accordingly, what we achieve in negotiations will be a direct result of how successfully we can keep up our determination and resolve.”

Keep up the energy and the great work. Keep educating your family, friends and neighbors about our issues. Go to our website, www.wgaeast.org, for information and updates. Check out the amazing blogs and videos not only on the Guild website but such other sites as
www.strikenotes.blogspot.com, www.lateshowwritersonstrike.com, and www.unitedhollywood.com. Show them, e-mail them, to everyone you know.

This Tuesday, we’ll be picketing the Sony Corporation. We’ll be at their corporate HQ, at 56th and Madison, from 10-2. Join us.

We’re contemplating other strategies for this week and next, too, so keep checking the Guild website. Have a terrific week. And a very Happy Thanksgiving to you, your family and friends. We’ve got a lot of good reasons to be thankful.

Onward,
Michael Winship
President
Writers Guild of America, East

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