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PLATFORM : Second-Class Writers

October 20, 1994| MIGDIA CHINEA-VARELA has been a member of the Writers Guild of America, West, for 17 years and was founder of its Latino Writers Committee. She told The Times: and

Last year, I attended hearings by the Commission on Civil Rights examining the exclusion of ethnic minorities from the entertainment industry.

(Afterward, CBS began) a staff "access program" for Latino writers. I was stunned to learn that under this program, Latino writers would be hired at half pay. Half!

The notion of my guild setting a lower wage for writers on the basis of ethnicity seems a perversion of the whole purpose of a trade union. Such practices make it more difficult for writers--Latinos or whatever--to get any work at all.

I was further dismayed to learn that my union had agreed to this as a "training program" for Latinos. The guild invoked an article in our contract that allows for companies to enhance "training opportunities" for writers in federally protected classes. But it was never intended to permit a two-tier wage system for professionals.

Affirmative action may be one approach to healing the disease of racial prejudice, but I can't believe that it can be called on to create a caste system based on national origin. Common sense would tell you that doing so would constitute a denial of that very basicprinciple.

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