I was sent this very unofficial missive that’s currently making the email rounds in reaction to that controversial WGA East and West letter to members identifying those “puny few” who went fi-core during the strike. I don’t find this spoof funny because the strike wasn’t funny. And I believe that the WGA leadership had every right to do what it did. Just as those fi-core members had every right to do what they did. But you be the judge if this is as inappropriate as I think it is:
During our 100-day strike, which we were sorry to see end, the extraordinary solidarity you demonstrated on the picket lines and your Long Island vacation homes, as well as the courage and dedication with which you committed yourselves to our cause, whatever it was, were not only an inspiration but also the key to making our actions being so successful in driving up business for Bob’s Big Boy.
As we speak, we’re all currently reaping the rewards of new media while enjoying no significant gains anywhere else. Nevertheless, presenting your WGA card at Best Buy will get us a 3% discount on Blu-Ray players.
In the face of enormous personal and financial hardship on the part of many who postponed construction on new home theater wings, you sacrificed in the knowledge that your refusal to work would reap benefits not only for yourselves but countless others in the creative community, now and in the future, while putting thousands of secretarial and below the line workers into the poorhouse. Your stalwart resolve paid off. The studios and networks instituted widespread layoffs and are heartily saluting you.
Yet among the many there were a puny, unattractive few who chose to do otherwise. These weak and callous philistines consciously and selfishly decided to place their own narrow interests over the greater good. Extreme exceptions to the rule, perhaps, but this handful of members who went financial core, resigning from the union yet continuing to receive the benefits of a union contract, must be held at arm’s length by the rest of us and judged accountable for what they are — strikebreakers whose actions placed everything for which we fought so hard at risk. As none of them are Oscar nominees or “A-Listers,” we feel confident in making them scapegoats for being able find work while our top leadership can’t even get staffing positions.
While others forfeited paychecks to stand in unity with their fellow Guild members, valiantly trying to pitch projects to Judd Apatow and Paul Haggis between sips of Vitamin Water, many who went financial core continued to collect salaries, clothe and feed their children as well as pay rent and mortgages. Without concern for their colleagues, they turned their backs and tossed the burden of collective action onto the rest of us, taking jobs, reducing our leverage and damaging the Guilds for their own advantage. Damaging the Guild is the sole responsibility of leadership.
Even in cases of deep financial distress, there were other options, including generous no-interest loans from our strike funds, which would have sustained them until the end of the strike and beyond. That’s what unions are for. That’s why so many people in need who applied for them were turned down, so that those who really needed the money could also be denied.
Those who went financial core did not share in the adversity we needlessly caused; and should not share in our victory, whenever that victory becomes clear. They cannot vote in our elections, run for Guild office, attend Guild meetings or events such as “Blacklisted Writer’s Day” at Disneyland, participate in the Writers Guild Awards which will be hosted next year by the hilarious Robert Wuhl, have affairs with other members, receive prerecorded calls from Larry Gelbart, upload screeners onto the internet, wear WGA t-shirts or talk to George Clooney. Further, it has been determined by the National Council of the Guilds West and East, and affirmed by Guild East Council and the Guild West Board as well as the Imperial Council on Hoth, that we send this joint letter with a link to a list on respective websites of those who went financial core during the strike. To view it now and for future reference, you can find it here. We will be subsequently including home phone numbers for crank calling and general harassment.
The rest of us are all in this together. The others, remain banished to daytime and Solley’s Deli.
Patric M. Verrone
Grand Moff Tarkin
Writers Guild of America, East Members
Who According To Rumor Became Financial Core Members
Herbert J. Biberman
Ring Lardner, Jr.
John Howard Lawson
Howard Da Silva