12 November 2007
As the writer's strike enters the second week with no signs of progress, closer to the back page or fading out of the narrow window of the public's attention span, it is imperative to take a step back and rethink how to better approach the situation. What will sign waving and words really solve? That way of dealing with labor disputes has become more of a spectacle and does not have the same utility as in the past. In some ways, many others, myself included, would love to be on the picket line, shouting slogans, showing the world where we stand. But what would that really change? It feels good to vent, get things off your chest, but after awhile the thought creeps in that this effort could be better focused. Eventually financial burdens mount and frustration sets in, priming the way for divide and conquer. Why beg for crumbs of the loaf you created, which is making others fat, when just a tiny slice will do. This ugly situation could end much sooner than expected by mobilizing public support.
The 2.5% retroactive to when it was given up is more in line with what is fair and what should be fought for now. Also a better starting point in the event of arbitration. What was learned by the effort to negotiate? If money has been made in any way with any writer's intellectual property; DVD, download, commercial revenue off promotional viewing, whatever, they should get their cut, end of story. There is a staggering disparity in wealth that needs to be brought to light. Profile the fortunes of as many key players as possible, show their faces. Pin them down to interviews or at least show how they go about blowing you off. Not having a job gives you time to get in someone's face, while no longer having the excuse not to.
Crunch the numbers, build the financial logic that will put things into black and white terms. Clearly show how much money the writers have lost and what little impact this would have on the fortunes of those who have benefitted from this if they could just be fair and human. Ambiguity leads to doubt. Inaccuracy could prompt abandonment. Build public indignation. If anyone can win the hearts and minds of a nation, it's the writers. After the evening news, if people truly want to show support, they will turn off their television sets. Target sponsors. Make lists readily available so consumers can contact these companies to express their disapproval of helping to prolong this injustice. Make a list of stocks so that concerned investors could drop them from their portfolios.
Get them where it hurts. If enough people act in unison, we could end this now.
The real battle has yet to begin,