Letter from WGAE President Michael Winship

Dear Fellow Members of the Writers Guild, East:

I write this to

you two nights before Christmas. It’s tough as hell to be on strike

during the holiday season. Not only are we staging outdoor pickets and

other events in the throes of winter’s cold, we’re without work and

paychecks at a moment when gift giving and good times are very much on

the minds of everyone around us, especially our friends and loved ones.

Yet we know that what we’re fighting for is worth it, that

we’re exchanging our temporary stress and discomfort for future gain

and security, not only for ourselves but those who will follow us as

wordsmiths and storytellers.

The widespread pain and hardship

of this strike would cease instantly if the studio and networks heads

simply would realize the need to have their representatives return to

the table and bargain a contract fairly and respectfully. We’re ready

any time, any place, to sit down to negotiate — even as AMPTP members

take off on holiday jaunts to Vail or Aspen or wherever it is moguls


Until then, the Guilds, East and West, continue to take

actions that make our strength and position in the entertainment

industry clear. This week, for example, a waiver was denied for writers

to work on the Golden Globe Awards, as was a waiver for the use of film

clips on the upcoming Oscars (the Oscars have not yet requested a

waiver for writers). However, an interim agreement for writing services

was granted for the Independent Spirit Awards, demonstrating Guild

support for the independent film community.

What’s heartening

is that despite the length of this strike, our solidarity remains

intact, strong and committed. At events such as Monday’s Time Warner

picket, honoring our daytime writers, and Tuesday’s Foley Square rally,

at which the writers and stars of crimes shows presented a mock

indictment of those who deny us an honest deal, we continue to

demonstrate that our resolve and faith in the justice of our cause are

as powerful as ever.

Even as we continue to show our strength

in New York and Los Angeles, the word keeps spreading across the

nation. On Thursday, Writers Guild members from Maryland and

Washington, D.C., with allies from SAG, AFTRA, AFSCME, the Teamsters

and other unions rallied at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The following

day, writers and their supporters in the Atlanta area picketed the

midtown “campus” of Turner, Inc., owned by Time Warner. Thanks to

everyone who participated.

This week, a new USA Today/Gallup

Poll reported that 60 percent of Americans support the Writers Guilds

in their fight against the media corporations (only 14% backed the

AMPTP). According to USA Today, "Six weeks into a strike by television

and movie writers, public sentiment rests firmly against the studios."


of this would be possible without the Writers Guild, East, staff, many

of whom have labored long and hard to make all of our strike events


What’s more, I’d like to thank all of you for your

continuing tenacity, patience and goodwill. I am so very proud to be

counted among your number.

My holiday wish is that the New

Year brings a just resolution to this conflict, that we can resume our

lives of creativity and productivity knowing that with right on our

side we have done our utmost to get the deal we merit and deserve.

Happy Holidays. Happy New Year.

In solidarity,

Michael Winship


Writers Guild of America, East