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Back to the Table March and Rally


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#1 Paul Maibaum ASC

Paul Maibaum ASC
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Posted 16 November 2007 - 10:52 PM

The following is an e-mail that has just recently been circulating between film and tv crew people who are or are about to be affected by the current strike between the AMPTP and the WGA. There can be no resolution without negotiation. This is an effort to simply get both sides to return to the bargaining table.

Colleagues,

The response to the initial email has been overwhelming. I've received over 100 emails today in response, every single one positive. Most from people I do not know, which means you are all sending this to friends and colleagues -- perfect! Our objective should be to get absolutely everyone involved -- please feel free to send this email on to as many people in the industry as you can -- all departments, as well as vendors, police, drivers, caterers, etc. This strike affects us all! (For those of you who may be reading about this for the first time, the initial email is reproduced below.)

We are looking to hold this Back to the Table March/Rally on Sunday Dec 2 , 9a to 11a. If all the pieces fall into place, we'll march from Hollywood & Vine to Hollywood & Highland, where we'll hold the rally. Mark this date on your calendars so you can be sure to make it -- and bring spouses, significant others and kids.

So far we have heard from crew on Nip/Tuck, The Closer, Pushing Daisies, Deperate Housewives, How I Met Your Mother, Heroes, Saving Grace, Reaper, Samantha Who, Lost, Chuck, Eli Stone, The Office, CSI: Miami, The Unit, My Name is Earl, Legally Blondes, Sweet Nothings, and Swingtown. All have pledged support and said they would turn out. If you know people on other shows, please send this email on to them and encourage them to write me. We want representatives from every show in town!

If you have specific connections to the media, please let me know.

We will be setting up a web page, and email list for regular updates. Stay tuned -- and get organized!

Thanks.

Chris Griffin
grffn@aol.com

Colleagues:

I'm casting about to see what kind of support there might be for a mass march and rally demanding that the WGA and the AMPTP get back to the negotiating table, NOW!

As Dale Alexander, key grip on The Office, wrote in his letter to the L.A. Times this week, "I respect the WGA?s position. They probably do deserve a larger percentage of profit participation, but a lengthy strike will affect more than just the writers and studios."

For every writer on strike there are some 10-20 crew members out of work. For every AMPTP member staying away from the negotiating table, there are 20 industry professionals unemployed. For every television series shut down, there are over 100 crew people without jobs. (Here on Nip/Tuck alone, we have 7 writers out on strike, and 120 crew members out of work.)

Sooner or later this strike will be settled. Why wait four or five or six or ten months, causing untold damage to our industry and ruining lives. GET BACK TO THE TABLE NOW, and work seriously and responsibly at negotiating a new contract. Drop all the spin, on both sides, and start talking to each other.

We in the work force can sit back idly and do nothing, passive victims of this devastating blow to our industry and our careers, or we can take action ourselves, demanding that the opposing sides get serious and get to work hammering out a deal.

A contract will be forged sooner or later -- let's demand that they stop posturing and get back to the hard business of working it out NOW!

Would you and your crews & your friends in the business turn out for a mass march and rally? Would you be willing to help organize such a thing? Help with publicity? Get vendors involved too? We would need everything donated -- march/rally permits, stages, sound, signs, etc. Celebrity participation would be effective as well. And with no agenda other than to get the two opposing sides back to the table.

Your thoughts?

Chris Griffin
Line Producer, Nip/Tuck
grffn@aol.com

The LA Times just published the following email from Dale Alexander, a key grip on The Office, which puts the severity of this strike into clear perspective:

?Our show was shut down and we were all laid off this week. I?ve been watching the news since the WGA strike was announced and I have yet to see any coverage dedicated to the effect that this strike will have on the below the line employees.

I respect the WGA?s position. They probably do deserve a larger percentage of profit participation, but a lengthy strike will affect more than just the writers and studios. On my show we had 14 writers. There were also 2 cameramen, 2 camera assistants, 4 hair stylists, 4 makeup artists, 7 wardrobe people, 4 grips, 4 electricians, 2 craft service, 4 props people, 6 construction, 1 medic, 3 art department, 5 set dressers, 3 sound men, 3 stand-ins, 2 set PAs, 4 assistant directors, 1 DGA trainee, 1 unit manager, 6 production office personnel, 3 casting people, 4 writers assistants, 1 script supervisor, 2 editors, 2 editors assistants, 3 post production personnel, 1 facilities manager, 8 drivers, 2 location managers, 3 accountants, 4 caterers and a producer who?s not a writer. All 102 of us are now out of work.

I have been in the motion picture business for 33 years and have survived three major strikes. None of which have been by any of the below the line unions. During the 1988 WGA strike many of my friends lost their homes, cars and even spouses. Many actors are publicly backing the writers, some have even said that they would find a way to help pay bills for the striking writers. When the networks run out of new shows and they air repeats the writers will be paid residuals. The lowest paid writer in television makes roughly twice the salary than the below the line crewmember makes. Everyone should be paid their fair share, but does it have to be at the expense of the other 90% of the crewmembers. Nobody ever recoups from a strike, lost wages are just that, lost.

We all know that the strike will be resolved. Eventually both sides will return to the bargaining table and make a deal. The only uncertainty is how many of our houses, livelihoods, college educations and retirement funds will pay for it.?

c.
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#2 Paul Maibaum ASC

Paul Maibaum ASC
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Posted 22 November 2007 - 10:42 AM

Back To The Table website up: http://www.strikeadeal.blogspot.com/
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#3 Paul Maibaum ASC

Paul Maibaum ASC
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Posted 27 November 2007 - 05:14 PM

March and Rally date changed to December 9, 2007. check website for details - http://www.strikeadeal.blogspot.com/
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