THE WGA AND HOLLYWOOD
The promise to stay out of controversial topics lasted an entire day. There is to be a strike by the misnomered "rank-and-file" of the Writers Guild of America. Been through this a few times previous on both the commercial and studio side of production.
An obvious jobs creator appears to have eluded the craniums of the leadership (Hah!) of the guild. If not for the nuclear explosion of streaming services the past 15 years, much of their membership would be parking cars on Melrose, or Uber-ing their way around various large cities.
NOTE: For the reading impaired, Yours truly has a union background. Dad was in OPW for 36 years and a Teamster. I've belonged to three. Almost joined the DGA, but after researching it, realized the Directors Guild would LIMIT what jobs would be, ahem, appropriate. Passed on it, and spent most of the professional career line producing and post supervising.
Artificial Intelligence is to the WGA what Modernization and Mechanization was to the Longshoremen in the 60s. Harry Bridges, the brilliant head of that union, attempted to get ahead of the M&M movement and force the rank-and-file into training. They resisted.
To this day, the docks of America work at about 50% capacity, and while a truncated version of the Longshoremen's Union exists, it is a sliver of what it could be had they looked forward.
And therein lies the issue with the WGA, and with organized labor in general.
The battle to retain status quo (My friend Daniel Ogawa, has a brilliant take on the UAW on his FB page), and, more destructively, to look backwards causes more harm than good. Depending on the length of the strike and the con-commitant sympathy by other unions in the industry, money will be lost by other workers as well as guild members. It will never be regained.
And what the WGA does NOT have going for it this time is the viewing public won't even notice. The plethora of streaming services has a backlog of product which will last for decades. Previous strikes brought television to a halt. No new shows. Nothing to watch, and nothing in the theaters.
Not the case this time.
What the WGA should do is negotiate a new contract. No strike. AND, take it upon themselves to look down, uh, "stream" and figure out what the next paradigm shift in entertainment is going to be which benefits the membership.
Having worked in the film industry for 35 years, and enjoyed the benefits of it for 60, there is nothing which will halt the growth and bring about the next explosion of creative product.
Except the WGA.