One of the reasons management walked out of the talks with the Guild is that we wouldn’t take reality off of the table. The WGA wants to represent reality writers. And reality writers need us. They’re working sixteen hour days on a flat rate with no overtime! Without a union, they have no protection from these sorts of unfair labor practices.

This is the worst talking point I’ve heard since Marc Cherry wrote Desperate Housewives while he was living off of residual checks.

Writers Guild members don’t receive overtime, and the WGA has no interest in how many hours a writing staff works. I once worked forty consecutive days on Arrested Development without a break. And I was easily the laziest person on that show.

What the Guild does is immunize the producers against any charges of labor law violations–if they make a deal with the WGA. The writers still work for a flat rate with no overtime, but the rate is higher, and there are better benefits. And the producers are protected.

We need reality writers so we can do a better job of shutting down production during a strike. And I have no problem with using labor law violations to scare the producers into settling with us. Life would definitely be better for reality writers under the WGA. Just not because of improved working conditions.

Of course, if reality is being used as a bargaining chip we can later remove from the table at a strategic point in the negotiations, as many suspect, then this is all moot.

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