The Strike, Day 30-Something: Darkness Falls

During the media blackout that accompanied the resumed post-Thanksgiving negotiations between the writers and studios, no news was good news, allowing Hollywood a brief—and, as it turns out, completely misguided—sense of hope that things might get settled before the holidays. As Day 36 of the strike begins and despair engulfs the industry anew, a round-up of the latest thoroughly depressing developments in the ongoing labor Armageddon:

· As predicted, the AMPTP broke off negotiations late Friday, following the exact script the WGA described in their press release issued earlier that ill-fated day, blaming writers for stalling and demanding that the Guild drop some of its proposals before they'd return to the bargaining table. The WGA's John Bowman sets the scene in the writers' post-breakoff statement: "As we prepared our counter-offer, at 6:05 p.m., Nick Counter came and said to us, in the mediator's presence: "We are leaving. When you write us a letter saying you will take all these items off the table, we will reschedule negotiations with you." Within minutes, the AMPTP had posted a lengthy statement announcing the breakdown of negotiations.

We remain ready and willing to negotiate, no matter how intransigent our bargaining partners are, because the stakes are simply too high. We were prepared to counter their proposal tonight, and when any of them are ready to return to the table, we're here, ready to make a fair deal." [WGA.org]
· In that aforementioned statement, the AMPTP promises that "under no circumstances will we knowingly participate in the destruction of this business" by, you know, negotiating. Also: The Guild is spending too much time organizing rallies and concerts, and not enough time accepting the New Economic Partnership without compromise: "While the WGA's organizers can clearly stage rallies, concerts and mock exorcisms, we have serious concerns about whether they're capable of reaching reasonable compromises that are in the best interests of our entire industry. It is now absolutely clear that the WGA's organizers are determined to advance their own political ideologies and personal agendas at the expense of working writers and every other working person who depends on our industry for their livelihoods. Instead of negotiating, the WGA organizers have made unreasonable demands that are roadblocks to real progress." A list of those "unreasonable demands" follows in an easy-to-follow, bullet-pointed format. [AMPTP.org]
· Nikki Finke has a Guild-said/studio-said narrative of how Friday's AMPTP walkout transpired, complete with competing stories of WGA negotiators' alleged anger levels and differing accounts of the force used to close doors. [DHD]
· International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees president Thomas A. Short, unhappy at the Guild's attempts to step onto his turf by trying to organize reality TV and animation, may not have the highest regard for WGA leadership, comparing them to "a huge clown car that's only missing the hats and horns." [NY Times]
· On Sunday morning, below-the-line personnel who have lost or will soon lose jobs due to the strike took to Hollywood Blvd., urging everyone to get back to the negotiating table. As far as we can tell, no scone-proferring agents fed the marchers. [LAT]
· It's Star Trek Day at Paramount's Windsor gate today, where picketers will be supported by the writers, stars, and fans of the Trek franchise. Expect a press release from AMPTP mouthpiece Nick Counter following the event, decrying Trek Day as "just another example of more counterproductive Guild grab-assing. When they're ready to pull off their pointy rubber ears and send some of their redshirts to be slaughtered at the bargaining table, we'll be ready. But you know, not before Christmas, because we want everyone to spend the holidays worrying about losing their houses." [United Hollywood]

[Image: StrikeSwag.com, which is selling the Trek shirt pictured above to support the WGA. ]