Ken Levine has another interesting and somewhat counterintuitive piece on the possible upcoming writers strike.
One of the strange dynamics of labor politics in general and of this story in particular is the asymmetry of organization and homogeneity. As Levine has noted previously, when we say "producers," we are not talking about the names you see at the end of your favorite TV series. We are mainly talking about the major studios. That means on the management side you have a handful of similar players with similar interests.
On the other side you have a large and remarkably diverse group of writers. In terms of career and economic interests, they range from well-established names at the top of the heap to journeymen who work semi-regularly and support themselves to part-timers (often hyphenated actors, writers and producers) and newbies who are just breaking in. As a result, the impact of a strike varies greatly from segment to segment.
Of course, in labor negotiations, the reality of solidarity is often less important than the perception...
I know it sounds strange, but the best way for WGA members to AVOID a strike is to vote YES to authorize it.
Huh? you may be saying.
Here's why: Management is just waiting to see how committed the WGA is to strike. If the Guild sends a resounding message that it is solidly behind our negotiating committee the producers will be way more willing to hammer out a deal and be done with it. They don't really want a strike either. They're making $51 billion in profit a year -- why throw a monkey wrench into that?
If however, the Guild does not give Strike Authorization, or even tepid support, then the producers will let us go on strike, let us suffer, and then give us nothing -- knowing the membership is apt to cave. The worst of both worlds.