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  1.  (1020.1)
    There is nothing quite like Harlan Ellison when he's angry - regardless of subject or position, the language use alone is simply wonderful to read. This is from his semi-private message board.

    ********************************************************

    HARLAN ELLISON ON THE WRITERS STRIKE SETTLEMENT

    YOU HAVE MY PERMISSION TO RE-POST THIS ANYWHERE:

    Creds: got here in 1962, written for just about everybody, won the Writers Guild Award four times for solo work, sat on the WGAw Board twice, worked on negotiating committees, and was out on the picket lines with my NICK COUNTER SLEEPS WITH THE FISHE$$$ sign. You may have heard my name. I am a Union guy, I am a Guild guy, I am loyal. I fuckin' LOVE the Guild.

    And I voted NO on accepting this deal.

    My reasons are good, and they are plentiful; Patric Verrone will be saddened by what I am about to say; long-time friends will shake their heads; but this I say without equivocation...

    THEY BEAT US LIKE A YELLOW DOG. IT IS A SHIT DEAL. We finally got a timorous generation that has never had to strike, to get their asses out there, and we had to put up with the usual cowardly spineless babbling horse's asses who kept mumbling "lessgo bac'ta work" over and over, as if it would make them one iota a better writer. But after months on the line, and them finally bouncing that pus-sucking dipthong Nick Counter, we rushed headlong into a shabby, scabrous, underfed shovelfulla shit clutched to the affections of toss-in-the-towel
    summer soldiers trembling before the Awe of the Alliance.

    My Guild did what it did in 1988. It trembled and sold us out. It gave away the EXACT co-terminus expiration date with SAG for some bullshit short-line substitute; it got us no more control of our words; it sneak-abandoned the animator and reality beanfield hands before anyone even forced it on them; it made nice so no one would think we were meanies; it let the Alliance play us like the village idiot. The WGAw folded like a Texaco Road Map from back in the day.

    And I am ashamed of this Guild, as I was when Shavelson was the prexy, and we wasted our efforts and lost out on technology that we had to strike for THIS time. 17 days of streaming tv!!!????? Geezus, you bleating wimps, why not just turn over your old granny for gang-rape?

    You deserve all the opprobrium you get. While this nutty festschrift of demented pleasure at being allowed to go back to work in the rice paddy is filling your cowardly hearts with joy and relief that the grips and the staff at the Ivy and street sweepers won't be saying nasty shit behind your back, remember this:

    You are their bitches. They outslugged you, outthought you, outmaneuvered you; and in the end you ripped off your pants, painted yer asses blue, and said yes sir, may I have another.

    Please excuse my temerity. I'm just a sad old man who has fallen among Quislings, Turncoats, Hacks and Cowards.

    I must go now to whoops. My gorge has become buoyant.

    Respectfully, Yr. Pal, Harlan Ellison

    (this is presumably copyright (c) The Kilimanjaro Corporation)
    • CommentAuthorDracko
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2008
     (1020.2)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    God damn, I love that beautiful bastard.
    •  
      CommentAuthorwilliac
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2008
     (1020.3)
    Permission to repost?

    He is pissed.

    Based on what I've read so far, it sounds like a fair assessment too.
  2.  (1020.4)
    Ellison is one of my heroes. I wouldn't go as far as he does in damning the settlement, but yeah, the WGA did not get much for all the effort that was put into the strike. I mean, you can see it as a toehold to hopefully boost up to something better next time, but i am not sure that is how these things work in an age where corporations spend a lot of their time taking away as much as they can from their workers.
    • CommentAuthormunin218
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2008
     (1020.5)
    I understand why he's pissed, and i do think they got a raw deal, but I can see why they settled. Not everyone has high-paying residuals they can live off for 3 months. A lot of the folks striking get paid peanuts to begin with, and were probably desperate. During the strike, it's not like they could collect unemployment.... (at least I don't think so...)
    •  
      CommentAuthorBen
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2008
     (1020.6)
    @munin218 When Vancouver's city workers were striking my girlfriend was getting a cheque every two weeks from her union. It was fucking tiny, but it was enough for her to survive most of the summer. I take it the WGA doesn't work that way?
    • CommentAuthormunin218
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2008
     (1020.7)
    @Ben I'm thinking not, as I saw a lot of fundraisers to raise money for the families of out-of-work striking writers. I could be wrong.....
    •  
      CommentAuthorFerburton
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2008
     (1020.8)
    Why else would you pay your union so much money from your paycheck if they weren't going to help you and your fellow union members in times of need?
    •  
      CommentAuthorBen
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2008
     (1020.9)
    @Feburton Exactly my point. If they couldn't even support them what the hell is the use of the WGA? Is it just one collective *shitty* agent? Or am I crossing my meanings here and a Guild has nothing to do with a Union...

    @Munin218 I heard about them as well and it just confused and angered me.
    • CommentAuthorsacredchao
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2008
     (1020.10)
    Harlan Ellison is one angry man. I haven't read the specifics of the deal, but I would assume he knows what he's talking about, so I'm guessing his anger is justified.

    Then again, if I made the kind of money a lot of those writers make, I would be a lot richer then I am now, even without a good deal.

    But something like 75% of the WGA members have other jobs to actually make ends meet, so I guess this benefits them as well.
  3.  (1020.11)
    going back to work for anything less than a solid deal is for complete tools who want to be dominated the rest of their life. the suits deserve no quarter. you know they want content creators as a permanent underclass and the worthless paper-pushers and money-wranglers in ties taking home the hoard of gold that content generates...
    •  
      CommentAuthorJacen
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2008
     (1020.12)
    Yeah, but you don't strike if you aren't in it for the long haul. They cried wolf and in three years they will get gouged even harder because a strike means nothing if the enemy can just wait you out. What a colossal waste of time.
    •  
      CommentAuthormuse hick
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2008
     (1020.13)
    one reason for paying union dues even if they aren't going to help you is sometimes you need to be a member of a union to do anything. i don't know if closed shops still exist anywhere and i can't see that working for something like the WGA but there can be a degree of tyranny in some unions.
    •  
      CommentAuthorCOMTE
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2008
     (1020.14)
    WGAW did have a strike fund set up (as I assume did WGAE), however, it was in the form of interest-free loans that had to be repaid back into the fund once the work stoppage was over:

    http://www.wga.org/subpage_member.aspx?id=2546

    Because of this pay-back qualification, a lot of writers may have elected not to dip into it, since they don't make that much in the first place, and probably would have difficulty paying back what they'd borrowed. Plus, as sacredchao points out above, most WGA members have another source of income, since they don't earn that much from writing anyway, so they probably weren't as adversely affected as the smaller number of full-time TV and film writers.

    As for Mr. Ellison's complaints, well, contract negotiations are always a give-and-take affair, and compromise is to be expected. The general rule of thumb is that, "if neither side is happy with the deal, it's probably a pretty good one".
  4.  (1020.15)
    I know a few writers working in NY who were literally reduced to begging for money from friends and family. Every time the news reports would come out saying "The average tv writer makes 200,000 dollars a year' I'd get some blast e-mail from them saying "Yeah, if we all pooled our incomes and lived on a fucking commune."

    Jacen's right, you don't strike if you aren't going to go the long haul. A good number of writers did not want to strike just because of that. They knew the networks would fill up their schedules with reality shit and just wait them out.

    Those guys aren't cowards or summer soldiers by any means.
  5.  (1020.16)
    What did the final settlement include? Are they now worse off because of the deal?
  6.  (1020.17)
    No, they aren't. It's better. The question seems to be how much better considering the length of the strike, money lost, et cetera. This seems to be a reasonable analysis of all the major provisions. Judge for yourself.