Labor in the EMI is on the offensive. Yesterday’s rally drew 700 writers in support of a strike at the reality TV show, America’s Next Top Model. This is an exceptional event in the EMI sector as labor has been relatively quiet since the lengthy and controversial strike in the commercials sector led by the sister guild of the writers, S.A.G. See my post earlier this week below for a discussion of the current situation in S.A.G. regarding the new contract covering commercial work. The event yesterday highlights the importance of new formats in TV that are an attempt to respond to the changing cost structure in the EMI sector. Some argue that as ad dollars flee traditional formats the nets (CBS, ABC, etc.) are under pressure to cut costs by expansive use of reality TV, thus undercutting work traditionally protected by Guild and AFTRA contracts.
Photos of the impressive event can be found here Scribes send warning shot
What is particularly interesting about the WGA-w efforts on behalf of writers is the combination of militancy with arguments about the structure of the industry, as indicated in the white papers one can find on their site here Are you SELLING to me?. This attempt to think through the impact of change in an industry and its effect on union members is relatively rare in the labor movement.