Friday, February 20, 2009

Turning point

I see that the executive director of SAG has been turned out of office. As he is also the chief negotiator, this is a major development in the impasse between the union and the producers. Perhaps now reason will prevail over ideology and the actors will reach a settlement.

When we in the WGA finally settled, after 100 days of strike which paralyzed the industry for a full six months and made it impossible for us to earn a living, our president and our executive director smugly declared it a turning point in labor relations. But this repudiation of SAG's hide-bound leadership and of its destructive negotiating attitude is the real turning point. That the members of SAG have had the courage and the pragmatism to reject the old us-against-them mentality of the labor hacks and insist on their right not to strike but to work, is a very heartening sign indeed. It may signal a thaw in the frozen wasteland of the obsolete, ideologically-driven attitudes of militant unionism that ought to have disappeared along with Jimmy Hoffa.

Let us hope now that a settlement along the lines of those with the DGA, WGA and AFTRA will be quickly reached by SAG, and that we may avoid the disastrous consequences of a strike which would not only cripple the industry, but destroy the lives and careers of may good and talented people.