Are the cracks starting to show?
A survey of Variety subscribers finds that industry support for the Writers Guild of America’s strike remains high, even as the work stoppage moves into its 11th week. Some 64% of respondents say they believe the WGA’s strike was necessary, and that’s actually up a few ticks from Variety’s November survey.
But digging deeper into the numbers reveals some emerging fissures in the solidarity among the town’s creative types, and a deepening divide between creatives and execs regarding the tactics.
At this point, the Hollywood community is almost neurotic in its conflicting desires and assessments.
Consider awards shows. Hollywood was in a lather last week about what will become of the Golden Globes ceremony set for Jan. 13. The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. publicly begged the WGA to grant it a waiver to allow the show to go on without pickets taking some of the gloss off the red-carpet parade. The guild was unmoved.
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In the survey of 616 Variety subscribers, conducted Dec. 26-31 by Frank N. Magid Associates, 48% of all respondents said yes on picketing the event, 45% said no.
Of the respondents who identified themselves as WGA members, 69% are in support of pickets hitting the Globes and even the Oscars in February (though the survey question referred more nebulously to simply “award shows”), but SAG-member respondents were divided, with 51% saying yes to pickets and 39% saying no. DGA respondents (47% yes, 42% no) and IATSE respondents (44% yes, 52% no) were also torn. Executive respondents overwhelmingly (66%) believe the WGA should hold its picket fire on awards nights.
(Of the respondents, 20% identified themselves as WGA members; 14% were SAG members; 9% were DGA members; and 8% were IATSE members. And 12% of respondents identified themselves as execs.)
On the more substantive question about how the Directors Guild of America’s own contract negotiations strategy might affect the WGA, there’s little consensus on whether the DGA should wait to begin its own talks or go forward this month, as it signaled last month. A little more than a third of all respondents (36%) say the DGA should wait, while 41% say no.
Writers are most likely to say the DGA should wait, while 54% of DGA members support their guild’s decision to move forward. Nearly half, 48%, of IATSE members agree with the DGA’s move, but only 27% of SAG members concur.
While support for the WGA remains high, some are starting to question the timing of the strike. Asked if the decision to strike on Nov. 5 was a “tactical mistake,” 57% of all respondents said no while 35% said yes — not much different than the divide in November (57%-31%).
But among DGA respondents, 42% now agree it was a tactical mistake, compared with 34% in November. Doubts among SAG members are also rising, with 25% agreeing that the strike was a tactical mistake.
One aspect of the labor strife that’s indisputable is the financial pain it’s causing.
In the latest survey, 26% of respondents said they’ve lost their jobs because of the strike, compared with 16% in the November survey.