Thoughts on the Latest WGA E-mail

UPDATE:: Yesterday Original Media and the Writer’s Guild of America East signed a settlement!  WHOOT!!


The below landed in my e-mail today, and I must admit, I have not been this delighted to receive a communication since my boy cat took a dump in the middle of the study floor.  (And that asshole’s litter box is clean, Goddamnit!)

Nonetheless, the text was somewhat less traumatizing to read than e-mails of this ilk have historically been. See for yourself:

Hi all –

It’s been a few months since I joined Original Media, and I’ve really enjoyed working with everyone here.  I love the creativity, professionalism and dedication I’ve seen and can’t wait for the months and years ahead.  Thank you for all you do to make OM the highly-respected production company it is!
I wanted to address some things going on with the WGAE (Writers Guild of America East) that may have come to your attention.  This isn’t my favorite part of the job, but I feel it’s important to give you truthful information so you all know what’s going on, especially in light of the Guild’s recent e-mail that is so false and deliberately misleading.
You may be wondering why the Guild is trying to change your opinion on how we operate.  The answer is that the Guild apparently doesn’t want you or anyone else to know – even though it represents you – that the primary reason we don’t have a contract with the Guild is because OM has not agreed to the Guild’s demand that all Producers and APs be forced to pay costly union dues and initiation fees.  This is called a “union security” provision, and if OM agreed to it, the Guild would have the right to require OM to terminate any Producer or Assistant Producer who failed to pay union dues after 30 days employment.  OM’s position is that the employees should decide for themselves whether they want to pay dues.
The Guild would like everyone to believe that other issues like health insurance are driving the negotiations, but they really aren’t.  I’m now regularly attending the negotiations and OM and the Guild have all but agreed on all issues except for union security. The Guild is willing to hurt the Company and put our shows and employees in jeopardy in order to force you to pay union dues.  It’s obvious why the Guild doesn’t want you to know this.  If you read back through all of your e-mails from the Guild and all the press releases issued by the Guild, you will not find a single mention of union security or union dues in any of them.
I apologize for the long email, but I thought it was important for you to have the facts.  I will be in touch with further emails in the months ahead to discuss healthcare and how the Guild has rewritten the history behind OM implementing a healthcare plan in 2015.
Looking forward to continuing to work together and updating everyone on exciting new things happening at OM!  And as always, please feel free to ask any questions you have regarding this process.
Thank you so much!


Credit where credit is due, this missive lacks the usual hysterical tone that tends to infuse messages of this sort, possessing instead a more friendly (albeit a trifle cloying) tone. Line breaks would have been nice between paragraphs, and I could have done with a smidge less underlining, but I appreciate the overall chatty quality.

I was also quite touched to discover that OM is concerned about those pesky dues that Unions WILL INSIST on receiving in exchange for the multitudinous benefits they deliver including decent working hours, overtime pay, and, yes, health care.

I feel obliged to go on the record, though, and say that I, for one, don’t want negotiations to be held up on my behalf when it comes to dues. I would be happy to pay them.  Should others be in agreement with me in this regard, perhaps we can let OM know so that the negotiations can proceed.

UPDATE:: Marissa Schlesinger provides a summary of my feelings in verse –

About unions there are certain truths:
Protection, a voice and-yes-dues
Good benefits, yay!
Also overtime pay!
Don’t fall for your management’s ruse

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