SAG has emailed its members what they can and can’t do if the writer’s strike happens. (The DGA and AFTRA will do the same sometime soon.) But the Screen Actors Guild is urging “steadfast” support in the event of a WGA walkout. Just one thing, the guild warns members: make sure actors walk the writers’ picket lines only in their free time. Because they’re obligated to go to work under SAG’s contract with the producers.
Meanwhile, the producers are getting all legal with the WGA about those strike rules articulated by the guild two weeks ago that sent Nick Counter into a temper tantrum spewing threats of a lawsuit. Now AMPTP has sent the union a cease-and-desist letter issued by Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp (which obviously doesn’t give a hoot how it earns billable hours as long as someone pays the bills). At issue is WGA’s announced “script validation program” which demands to see copies of every script going forward in order to oversee the status of every project and catch strike breaking or scab writing in the act. But the letter basically claims those pages are the property of the companies that paid for them and the WGA better butt out. Nasty, nasty, nasty.
Also ugly is AMPTP fighting the WGA’s strike rules that hyphenates have to stop writing, too. The producers claim on its website, “As a showrunner you can perform all non-writing services, including ‘A to H’ duties. In a February 2007 decision, the National Labor Relations Board held that hyphenate showrunners are supervisors within the meaning of the National Labor Relations Act and, accordingly, are aligned with management. The union cannot and should not attempt to prevent any hyphenate showrunners from performing non-writing duties.”