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Strike script: good or bad?

December 14, 2007

Re "Writers union feeling the heat," Dec. 12

The writers thought they were striking for a share of revenue from new media, but they are now starting to realize that they are being used as pawns by union leaders seeking to expand the jurisdiction of the Writers Guild.

There was a time when the sole objective of labor unions was to achieve better pay and working conditions for their members. However, when union leaders persuade highly paid writers or millionaire athletes to voluntarily sacrifice income and go on strike, one has to question if it is the actual strikers or the union leaders themselves who expect to benefit the most.

Gary Osheroff



This article makes it appear as if the Writers Guild talks were broken up in the main part because of what The Times terms "secondary" demands, making it appear that the main issues at hand -- original production and reruns on the Internet, not to mention grossly underpaid royalties for DVDs -- have already been resolved, or that a much more substantive offer from the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers had been proffered for those strike demands and that guild negotiating leaders were stubbornly clinging to peripheral, pie-in-the sky, unattainable desires.

In fact, after two weeks of negotiating, the AMPTP never elevated its paltry offer of $250 for unlimited streamed reruns of an episode over a year's time on the Internet. AMPTP chief Nick Counter instead chose to focus attention on important but clearly second- or third-tier demands in a desperate attempt to make writers look greedy and foolish.

Most writers know what he is up to, and so would most Times' readers had the reportage been correctly printed on the front page instead of consigning the "journalistic balance" to Page A28.

Michael Russnow

West Hollywood

The writer is a former member of the Writers Guild of America's board of directors.

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