|Writers Garner Unprecedented Support Across the Globe
Writers in Nine Countries Rally in Solidarity with the WGA
LOS ANGELES -- Screen and TV writers around the world took to the streets today to show their support for the four-week-old strike of the Writers Guild of America. In Berlin, over 100 German writers, carrying WGA picket signs, marched at the Brandenberg Gate. In Canada, hundreds of writers marched in freezing temperatures in Montreal and Toronto. Writers also marched in Paris, Amsterdam, London, Sydney, Auckland, Madrid, and Mexico, as well as other global locations, all to show their support for the American counterparts. Photos of the marches are available at: http://press.wgaw.org/photos/Events/Int'l%20Solidarity%20Day%2011-28-07/
Here in the U.S., WGA picketers held their own international solidarity event at NBC Studios in Burbank. "There were French demonstrations in support of the writers today in front of the Eiffel tower," said one of the writers at the Burbank picket, screenwriter Jean-Yves Pitoun, a French native and a member of the WGA West. "Europeans are very carefully watching the writers, actors, and directors in the U.S. because Rupert Murdoch is everywhere. Our negotiations with him here will have consequences for writers in Europe."
The International Affiliation of Writers Guilds (IAWG) issued the unprecedented call for this day of action at its meeting in Montreal on November 15. Brendan Barber, General Secretary of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) of Britain, which represents nearly seven million workers in 66 affiliated unions, expressed solidarity with the striking writers. "Many writers struggle to make a living, yet the film studios and TV networks stand to make billions of dollars when writers' successful scripts are published on DVD or are downloaded from the Internet," said Barber. "All the writers are asking for is a fairer share of the huge profits to be made."
Underscoring the feelings of solidarity among writers worldwide, The Federation of Scriptwriters in Europe (FSE), which represents writers' guilds throughout the continent, promised that none of their members will undermine the US strike by carrying out any kind of "strikebreaking activity." The FSE is mobilizing its 22 member guilds in 18 European countries. "We are asking them to do everything they can to support the WGA," according to a press release sent out by the FSE Board.
"Their fight is our fight," said Rebecca Schechter, President of the Writers Guild of Canada. "Screenwriters around the world are entitled to receive their fair share of revenues from the Internet, and that is what our American colleagues are fighting for."
The WGA strike is the result of a contract dispute between the writers and the multi-media conglomerates represented by the AMPTP. States WGAW member Ric Arthur from the picket lines at Paramount Studios: "The international outpouring of support is the latest sign that our cause is a popular one, touching a chord with working people all over the world."
Screenwriter Terry George, a native of Belfast, Ireland and a WGA East member, was also at the Burbank solidarity rally. "This battle has the potential to reverse the damage done to unions ever since Reagan fired the air traffic controllers," said George. "This pattern of maximizing profits at the expense of workers can be reversed."
Photos from the international events are available at:
The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) represents writers in the motion picture, broadcast, cable, and new media industries in both entertainment and news. For more information, please visit: www.wga.org.