Friday, February 20, 2009

Striking out

The Screen Actors Guild continues to contemplate a strike, and I continue to regard this as inane to the point nearly of insanity. To take out on strike in this economic climate tens of thousands of people who have trouble finding work in the best of times is criminally irresponsible. To its credit, however, there is a faction within SAG, led by some of the most prominent actors, who have, in effect split the union in their determined stand that a strike would be disastrous at this time.

But the leadership of SAG, like that of the WGA, is ideologically bound, and thus, impervious to reason. Such people as Verrone and Young of the WGA and Rosenberg of SAG, are so much prisoners of their political views and their jaundiced notions of the relation between labor and management that they would rather risk the welfare of their members than abandon their beliefs. This puts them squarely in the lamentable tradition of the leaders of the Inquisition, of the soviets, of the flat-Earth-ers, who said with one voice, 'We have the truth; too bad for reality.'

But in the case of SAG, the reality is of good, hard-working and aspiring people, many of them young, who will be destroyed economically and emotionally if they are led into a strike, the terms of which will be virtually identical to those already settled by the DGA, the WGA, and AFTRA. Why, then, do Rosenberg and his cronies on the far left continue to insist on labor action, when all the salient issues have already been resolved? For their own hubris, for the purity of their views, for their strike-or-be-damned attitude toward labor relations, and even toward their own membership.

The fact that many of SAG's members will suffer economically whether there is a strike or not because all of us are suffering is no consolation. Rather, give them the chance to do the one thing they joined to union to accomplish: to pursue their dreams, not in sleep but in work.