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WGA Strikers Show Off Union Printing

Writers strike for larger share of new media profits.

Today, the Writers Guild of America began picketing in support of their strike action. As always, it's amazing to see how photo coverage of a union strike is defined by images of union printing. Already, I've seen pics of bold black and red union signs being unloaded by Strike Captains, and strike info flyers being handed out in front of picket areas.

So far, most of the signs we've seen have been a mixture of homemade and professional union printing. However, if the strike drags on, we'll definitely start to see a majority of picket lines walking with the black and red union printing that is showing up in photos, if not yet pickets, early this morning.

I'm expecting to see some really creative print designs from the Writers Guild during the course of this strike, as well as some interesting and hopefully catchy slogans. I've already caught glimpses of union printing bearing lightening bolts, and heard that strikers are keeping the copy simple: “When you get paid, we get paid.” Apparently, they've also got a giant inflatable rat at a picket in New York, but I'm still not sure what that means.

On a personal note, I can't actually express the degree to which I was impressed by early photo coverage showing Tina Fey, formerly of Saturday Night Live, and now of 30 Rock, walking the line in front of NBC Headquarters in New York with union printed picket sign in hand. Wow. She is so cool.

I have to remind myself, though, that for every writer like Tina Fey, Matt Groening of The Simpsons, and Tim Kring of Heroes, there are dozens of writers working in Hollywood that barely make enough money to write for a living in a multi-billion dollar industry.

Novelist/screenwriter Howard A. Rodman posted an excellent blog yesterday, pointing out that, in essence, the WGA is a middle-class union. Almost half of these unionized writers make only $5, 000 a year from television and screenwriting, while one quarter earn an average of under $37, 000.

A lot of people might roll their eyes at the idea of a bunch of Hollywood writers going on strike, but the fact is that they are, in large part, middle-class union workers, just like the rest of us.

The last WGA strike happened 20 years ago, and lasted for 22 days. But something tells me that back then, they didn't have low cost full color union printing like we do today. They also didn't have the Associated Press snapping pics of union signs and sending them all over the world in seconds. I wonder, will these new developments move the strike along more quickly, or will we be waiting until next spring for the new season of Lost?

Check back with us for up-to-date WGA strike coverage – from a union printer perspective.


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