WGA Strike in New Mexico

WGA Strike in New Mexico - photo scanned from the Albuquerque Journal

A week ago I joined several other WGA members, aspiring writers and even a few SAG members in Albuquerque to do a little picketing. I was surprised to find out that there was a WGA contingent out here big enough to pull something like this together. I met a couple of the organizers at a cafe off Central and where we assembled and tracked down the set of Game, with which was shooting nearby with Gerard Butler and Alison Lohman. It went down peacefully and various news media dropped by to check out the Southwest’s microcosm of LA strife.

I’d link to the actual Albuquerque Journal article, but their site is like the proverbial Gordian Knot. So here it is, reproduced in its entirety from the December 14, 2007 edition:

Writers Take Battle to Duke City

By Dan Mayfield
Journal Staff Writer
Since 1992, Tracey Ann Kelley has written an episode a week for the soap opera “The Bold and the Beautiful,” from Albuquerque.

But not for the past month.

Since Nov. 5, when the Writers Guild of America went on strike, Kelley hasn’t written a word. She was Downtown carrying a picket sign with about 30 other writers on Thursday for the WGA’s national strike. Some were members of other unions, like the Screen Actors Guild and the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees, showing solidarity with WGA. They were picketing outside the set of the movie “Game,” which was shooting at the Doubletree Hotel.
The writers union, which represents film and television writers, hopes to negotiate a better deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which pays them.

The big sticking point is residual fees when shows or films are re-broadcast, especially those shown over the Internet.

“The Internet is the future of soap operas like mine,” Kelley said. “You can watch my show anywhere in the world on the Internet.”

But, Kelley said, writers don’t see their fair share of the profits companies are making for distributing what they’ve written.

Kelley was joined by several other writers, such as Melinda Snodgrass. “I thought we were all alone,” Snodgrass said. “I never knew there were so many of us.”
Many of those on strike were also picketing Wednesday in Santa Fe on the set of the film “Brothers.”

Thursday was a national “Day of Action,” WGA said. Screenwriters from around the country picketed in San Diego, New Orleans, Burbank, Calif., and several more cities.

“We don’t have an official statement on this. It is absolutely within their rights. I respect and honor that,” said Lisa Strout, director of the state film office.

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