(WGAw President Patric M. Verrone released the following statement a short time ago)
December 13, 2007
To My Fellow Members:
The AMPTP and each of its member companies have a legal obligation to bargain in good faith with the WGA. Their unilateral walkout from negotiations last Friday and their on-going refusal to bargain is illegal under the National Labor Relations Act. Therefore the WGA today filed Unfair Labor Practice charges against the AMPTP with the National Labor Relations Board.
The DGA’s announcement today that it may begin negotiations with the AMPTP in January in no way relieves the AMPTP of their legal obligation to negotiate with us. The only legal way for the AMPTP to remedy the Unfair Labor Practice charge we have filed is to return to the bargaining table.
The WGA Negotiating Committee and leadership are working hard on many fronts to bring the AMPTP back to the table. In the meantime, your presence on the picket lines Monday, along with your support for the Guild, is critical in increasing our leverage with the companies.
The companies walked out of talks for the second time last Friday, and are using every possible tactic to attempt to divide our members and create ill will. They have recently employed a team of highly-paid spin-doctors to take attention away from the fact that it was the companies who unilaterally and illegally broke off negotiations, and to make it seem as if the WGA was more interested in reality and animation than in new media compensation and jurisdiction. I can assure you that is not the case. The Writers Guild’s proposals remain reasonable and affordable.
The companies’ refusal to bargain in good faith is a callous and cynical act, denying paychecks to thousands of families this holiday season. The WGA strongly urges the AMPTP to return to the table and begin good-faith negotiations, so that our members and the rest of the community can get back to work as soon as possible.
Patric M. Verrone
President, WGA West
With everyone from the LA TIMES' Patrick Goldstein, to DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD DAILY's Nikki Finke to The Huffington Post's Robert J. Elisberg blasting the AMPTP for its PR stunts and attempts at union busting instead of actually negotiating in good faith, this should not have surprised the conglomerates. (Although we are talking about people who failed to spend $9 bucks at GoDaddy.com to register their .com and .net addresses).
And while we're at it, maybe somebody should talk to members of Congress about why these multi-national mega corporations - who are usually cut-throat competitors - are allowed to negotiate as a single entity against every union separately.