I raised concerns about the UAW GM VEBA deal here in an interview with the BNA’s Daily Labor Report.
One of the stories about the possible settlement between the studios and the WGA suggests that the informal bargaining has been so productive that there may not need to be a resumption of so-called “formal” negotiations with AMPTP. As The New York Times put it:
“The agreement may come without renewed formal negotiations between the television and movie writers and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, though both sides still need to agree on specific language of key provisions. If that process goes smoothly, an agreement may be presented to the governing boards of the striking Writers Guild of America West and Writers Guild of America East by the end of next week, the people said.”
That raises an interesting question: why stick the AMPTP in between the real decision makers and the guilds? What value is there in wasting time with an “industrial relations-era” HR type like Counter and his crowd? Content creation is the centerpiece of the new digital era and it seems that it is time for the producers to be willing to take the time themselves to negotiate these contracts in person with talent directly. After all, isn’t this why the Studio execs are the ones making the big bucks? I would think their shareholders – which, after all, include many pension funds and mutual funds managed for the benefit of union members – would agree.