Well Done, Leadership!
Thanks, Brothers!Well, I’m pretty sure one of our commenters broke some news yesterday…the Teamsters are going to (sort of) back a possible WGA strike.
This is big news.
The Teamsters union — representing about 4,000 Hollywood drivers, location managers and scouts, casting directors and animal wranglers — is giving the WGA’s strike plans a major boost with a show of solidarity that could seriously disrupt local production.
The leader of Teamsters Local 399 is advising members, as long as they’re acting as individuals, that they should honor WGA picket lines. The Writers Guild of America could go strike as early as Thursday; negotiations resume today at the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers.
In a message posted Monday, secretary-treasurer Leo Reed said Local 399 can’t strike, picket or boycott a producer while its contract is in effect but added that those restrictions don’t apply to individuals.
“As for me as an individual, I will not cross any picket line whether it is sanctioned or not because I firmly believe that Teamsters do not cross picket lines,” Reed said in the message.
What does that mean?
Well, the Teamsters can’t honor a picket line institutionally (so yeah, Mona was wrong). However, part of their deal is that if their council sanctions, or approves, of another union’s strike, then individual Teamsters cannot be disciplined for refusing to cross a picket line.
And in a not-so-subtle message on the Hollywood Teamsters’ home page, their Division Director, Leo Reed, announced that he would be one of those individuals who wouldn’t cross a line.
I was shooting on the backlot at Paramount today, and I heard that the studio is reassigning all trucks and deliveries to go off-lot, in case of a picket line. Could be rumor, could be true. Seems like smart planning to me…particularly if the companies are taking the Teamster announcement seriously, which they pretty much have to.
The strategic upshot?
This just might help avert a strike.
Finally, at long last, we’ve got a real way to enhance our strike threat. Organizing reality was an abortion, organizing animation was a boondoggle, the corporate campaigns fizzled, the attempt to disrupt product integration was naive and impotent…
…but this is for real.
The Teamsters can shut a company down faster and more completely than any other union in town.
Now that the companies have to worry about an instant shutdown if the WGA strikes, they’re going to have to do a better job of bargaining.
And if they do a better job of bargaining, our side might actually get something to work with in negotiations.
Look, if Verrone is hell-bent on striking, then none of this matters. We’re all screwed, and there’s a bad deal in our future.
But if he’s not…and all I can do is hope that he’s not…this is a terrific strategic gain. We just amped up their fear level and made the threat of a strike far more potent.
And like any supporter of gun rights, I believe that showing you have a loaded gun is a good way to avoid having to shoot a loaded gun.
Well done, leadership. This was a huge step closer to your promise of an alternative to “strike or cave.”