Unfair Working Conditions In Cultural Industries Management Essay

For decennaries, workers in many industries have relied on trade brotherhoods to turn to assorted issues with their employers. A trade brotherhood is an “ association of bargainers in a peculiar trade, industry, or company, created for the intent of securingA improvementsA in wage, benefits, A working conditions, or societal and political position throughA corporate bargaining ” ( “ Trade Union ” ) . The cultural industry is one such industry, which relies on trade brotherhoods to dicker with employers on behalf of brotherhood members ( employees ) to negociate trade contracts and to protect the employment security of their members ( ibid ) . However, on some occasions, when dialogues fail due to unresolved employee grudges, brotherhood members vote to strike. This entails the surcease of work caused by the mass refusal of employees to work ( Mathis & A ; Jackson, 544 ) . Strikes continue to perplex many critics in portion because they are considered inefficient ( William et al. 101 ) . Conducting a instance survey of the successful Writers Guild Association work stoppage of 2007-2008 ( concentrating on the west WGA-W in Los Angeles ) , this paper will show that when undertaken by well-organized and incorporate trade brotherhoods, and when communicating with the populace is expeditiously maintained, labour work stoppages can turn out to be effectual in defying unjust working conditions in the cultural industries. This will be done through in depth analysis of the authors ‘ work stoppage, including the methods of the Guild ‘s organisation.

Trade brotherhoods and direction work together in a “ give-and-take procedure ” called corporate dialogue or corporate bargaining. Harmonizing to Robert L. Mathis and John H, Jackson, this is the “ procedure where representatives of direction and brotherhood representatives negotiate over rewards, hours, and other footings and conditions of employment ” , in an effort to set up reciprocally good conditions ( Mathis & A ; Jackson, 539 ) . Corporate dialogue begins chiefly for two grounds: to decide employee grudges or to negociate new contracts ( ibid ) . Mathis and Jackson believe that the primary focal point of dialogue prevarications in the nucleus countries of rewards, benefits and working hours ( Mathis & A ; Jackson, 541 ) . During dialogues, labor and direction do non ever reach understanding on the issues. If dissensions continue, and a dead end can non be resolved, a brotherhood may return to a work stoppage. Striking brotherhood members frequently picket or show against the employer outside the topographic points of concern by transporting posters and marks ( Mathis & A ; Jackson, 544 ) .

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Within the cultural industries, work stoppages are comparatively rare. This is due to the unstable nature of employment and copiousness of available labor within the industry ( Cohen ) . However, despite these fortunes, there have been several instances where brotherhoods within the cultural industries have voted to strike. When analyzing work stoppages from the last decennary, it seems that the bulk of successful work stoppages ( e.g. 2007 Broadway stage technician work stoppage ( Getlin, parity. 4 ) , 2008 Bollywood work stoppage ( Sloan, parity. 2 ) ) have one facet in common ; they have all been good organized and have received heavy public attending. Similarly, the WGA-W, authors ‘ work stoppage of 2007-2008 owes its success to these two elements.

The authors ‘ work stoppage was a struggle between two parties: The WGA ( besides referred to as the Guild ) , and the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers ( AMPTP ) . Originally called Screen Writers Guild boulder clay 1954, the WGA has been stand foring and dickering for authors since 1933. This responsibility entails contract dialogues, which includes contending for just rewards, compensations, and hours ( Banks, 21 ) . In 1954, when the name was changed to WGA, the brotherhood split into two parts: WGA-West ( WGA-W ) and WGA-East ( WGA-E ) . The AMPTP, established in 1982, is the trade association responsible for negociating virtually all industry-wide club and brotherhood contracts, including the WGA-W contracts ( Banks, 21 ) . Representing all manufacturers in America, the AMPTP held considerable sum of power over the WGA. Indeed old labors conflicts waged by WGA against the AMPTP ended in failure ( ibid ) . The 2007 work stoppage changed that.

In the summer of 2007, the authors ‘ three twelvemonth contracts were making their termination day of the month ; and so on July 11, 2007, contract dialogues had begun between the two parties ( Ertan et al. ) . These negations broke off and resumed several times, until they suddenly broke off on October 31, six hours before the contract expired ( ibid ) . At 12 am on November 5, 2007 both the WGA-E and WGA-W officially went on work stoppage ( ibid ) .

Contract dialogues centred on compensation issues sing new media, specifically “ the authorship of new stuff for the Internet, and reuse of member ‘s content on all non-traditional platforms ” ( Ertan et al. ) . In add-on to this, the WGA sought to spread out the contract ‘s current coverage over plan genres to “ non-covered countries ” such as world telecasting, life, game shows, and other nonfiction scheduling, every bit good as an addition in the DVD remainders expression ( ibid ) . The Guild had been seeking to procure just remainders from the gross revenues of movie and telecasting from place leases ( VHS and finally DVDs ) since 1988 and had failed every effort ( ibid ) . As clip went by, and the Internet grew in popularity, authors witnessed the young person switch from traditional movie and telecasting media to digital signifiers. Harmonizing to Miranda Banks, the young person were going “ so accustomed to utilizing the cyberspace for amusement that no 1 within the industry [ was ] rather certain whether they would lose telecasting if it were to vanish ” ( Banks, 22 ) . Due to the efficiency of on-line distribution, studios were able to extinguish about all fabrication, transportation, and most storage costs, but despite these nest eggs, non a individual dollar of these net incomes was seen by the authors ( Banks, 23 ) . Writers were non compensated for their work streamed unrecorded on the Internet, and they received merely 0.3 per centum of distributers ‘ gross grosss when a show sold ( Handler et al. 2 ) . In add-on, telecasting and movie authors were given the added duty of making big promotional runs and supplying web logs and commentary for upcoming movies, but they were seldom compensated for this extra labor ( Banks, 23 ) .

Not surprisingly, the AMPTP sought to keep this position quo. They claimed that that the gross earned from DVD gross revenues were needed to countervail the “ ever-rising selling and production costs of movie and televised amusement ” . In add-on, online cyclosis had non proven to be a “ important beginning of gross ” , and so it was impossible and premature to reasonably negociate the allotment of new media gross without a clear image of what the entire returns involved would be ( Handler et al. 3 ) . The WGA rejected these statements. They particularly loathed the statement of their compensation demands being “ premature ” , as this was the same statement the AMPTP made in respects to VHS in 1988, which subsequently morphed into DVD gross revenues. The authors felt cheated of their net incomes so, and they were non about to let the manufacturers to victimize their manner out of let go ofing net incomes the authors felt they deserved ( ibid ) .

Therefore, both parties entered into negations. However, harmonizing to Banks, the AMPTP ne’er planned on negotiating. In fact, on the first twenty-four hours of dialogues, the AMPTP created an offer that partly repealed certain rights to remainders antecedently won by the WGA, instead than offering the Guild a “ point of entry into digital compensation rates ” ( Banks, 23 ) . The AMPTP failed to understand the earnestness of the issues ( Ertan et al. ) .

On October 19, the WGA rank was asked to project a ballot that would authorise the WGA Board of Directors to name a work stoppage. Uniting the ballots from both the East and the West Guilds, 5,507 ballots were cast, and 90.3 per centum voted for a work stoppage ( Ertan et. Al, ) . On October 20, concluding attempts were made by the Guild to avoid a work stoppage ; including retreating its proposal to increase the DVD remainders expression, but the AMPTP did non reconsider any of its places ( ibid ) . On November 1, at a Guild-wide rank meeting held in Los Angeles Convention Centre, the WGA leading announced to the 3,000 go toing members their consentaneous determination to name a work stoppage ; the bulk of WGA members supported the determination ( ibid ) . On November 5, 2007, the WGA was officially on work stoppage ( Handler et al. 3 ) .

Preparation and organisation for the work stoppage had begun long before the official declaration of the work stoppage ( Ertan et al ) . The Guild knew that they were in for a long battle against the AMPTP, and that they had many things working against them. For one, the outrageousness of the rank base meant keeping a line of communicating and a changeless flow of information was traveling to be highly hard ( O’Brien, 134-135 ) . In add-on, the AMPTP was a really big and powerful opposition. It had highly deep pockets, and therefore limitless entree to public sentiment. The Guild anticipated unfavorable coverage in the mainstream new media ( O’Brien, 134 ) .

To get the better of the challenges and phase a successful work stoppage, the WGA-W leading knew they needed to deploy two chief schemes: the first was to systematically work as a incorporate forepart against the AMPTP ; the second was to guarantee that the populace had sustained entree to WGA-W work stoppage information. They had to guarantee that their actions were invariably seeable, so that the work stoppage remained in the public limelight. A incorporate WGA-W could merely be achieved through efficient coordination and communicating, and guaranting that the rank base remained optimistic and invested in the battle ( Banks, 23-24 ) .

Guild leaders began fixing for the work stoppage once they were authorized by the brotherhood members to name for one. Guild staff organized a lookout preparation meeting for work stoppage captains, in which several commissions were formed to organize the work stoppage. One of these commissions included the Location Picketing Committee, which proved to be highly important to strike organisation ( Ertan et al ) . By November 3, work stoppage captains were trained on how the work stoppage would continue, including which lookout site they would be assigned to convey their squad. Each member was expected to go to “ one four hr displacement Monday through Thursday and an activity on Friday ” ( ibid ) .

With frequent meetings between work stoppage captains and Guild leading, captains invariably received instructions and information on dialogues from the WGA-W and communicated it to their squad members, who were ever well-informed about the advancement and activities of the work stoppage. In add-on, the WGA-W “ exploited the digital communicating sphere… to entree their members ” ( Banks, 27 ) . The usage of electronic mail enabled Guild leading to cheaply, merely and expeditiously organize contact with and distribute official word to their members. Bank argues that the advantage of utilizing electronic mail as a manner of communicating between members is that struggle in handiness is non an issue because with electronic mail, a individual message can be sent to 1000s of people at the same time ( ibid ) . Most significantly, nevertheless, members communicated amongst themselves, sometimes offering sentiments, or regurgitating information about work stoppage events or its promotion. Through this pattern emerged a “ multiplicity of voices ” making a diverse discourse ( Banks, 28 ) . Banks quotes Jennie and Daniel Chamberlin ‘s ( 2008 ) observation of this diverseness during the work stoppage:

Unlike the AMPTP, which made its determinations behind closed doors and so paraded their sound bites through the really mainstream media they owned, the WGA-W rank clamoured with a blare of voices across a assortment of Internet beginnings. One-way communicating was broken – no longer controlled by the media or the Guild, but taken on by the rank. ( Banks, 28 )

Despite this highly efficient synchronism and open-communication, emphasis degrees were intelligibly high. Picket lines, although societal, were a nerve-racking environment. Picketers were forced to cover with ( amongst other things ) “ confrontational state of affairss and the out-of-door elements ” ; i.e. Los Angeles ‘ scorching heat ( Ertan et al. ) . In add-on, the lines served as a changeless reminder that members had no income while on work stoppage. In order to continuously keep morality, WGA-W leaders knew they had to try to cut down anxiousness degrees.

The WGA-W leading was peculiarly perceptive at strategizing methods to maintain its members unified and energized. One scheme was to mobilise and use cardinal characters as ammo against the AMPTP ; most notably A-list authors. Head authors and good well-thought-of characteristic authors were encouraged to be a portion of the contract negotiation commission. This enabled the Guild to remind the AMPTP of all the “ originative labor it would lose every hebdomad ” if the authors remained on work stoppage ( Banks, 24 ) . The WGA-W besides showed the AMPTP that they were serious by including of import members who were critical to the manufacturers ‘ success ( ibid ) . These members besides helped to keep rank morale and trust in the Board of Directors. If the high-profile authors showed their continued support, so would other members. This manner the AMPTP could non take advantage of a diminished Guild, to make a trade good entirely to them ( Banks, 25 ) .

In add-on to this, work stoppage captains began utilizing “ their creativeness to do the lookout lines more enthusiastic and merriment ” ( Ertan et al. ) . For illustration, some picketing events included a “ Bring-Your-Kids ” event and a “ Fan Day ” for Battlestar Galactica fans ( “ Week Two Picket Changes ” , parity. 5-6 ) . The “ Bring-A-Star-To-Picket-With-You ” event held at Universal Studios on November 10th, drew a big sum of media attending ( Finke, parity. 4 ) . The support of popular dramatis personae members, including the dramatis personae of ER ( ibid ) , Desperate Housewives ( Finke parity. 14 ) , and many more, non merely raised the authors ‘ morale, but besides attracted public attending ( Ertan et al. ) .

Deriving media attending was a cardinal work stoppage scheme. It enabled communicating with the populace, which was of import for two grounds: foremost, the WGA-W could counter-act the AMPTP ‘s negative remarks sing the Guild ; 2nd by maintaining the populace in the cringle with work stoppage activities, the Guild was able to increase public consciousness. This communicating was maintained through web logs, some of which “ emerged specifically for the intent of circulating information and opening communicating between authors and the larger community ” ( Banks, 27 ) . A big figure of web logs exploded on the Internet, but two in peculiar garnered a big sum of attending: “ United Hollywood ” and “ Deadline Hollywood ” .

United Hollywood was created by a group of WGA-W work stoppage captains recommending “ for working people in the amusement industry confronting the digital revolution ” ( “ Home Page ” , in right border ) , and funded by the WGA-W Communication Committee ( O’Brien, 134 ) . Deadline Hollywood was created by amusement newsman, Nikki Finke, as an on-line version of her column in the LA Weekly ( Banks, 28 ) . During the work stoppage, Finke, being a pro-labour protagonist, invariably updated the site with work stoppage updates and events. Harmonizing to Los Angeles Times newsman Scott Collins ( 2008 ) , the web log was a “ cardinal arm in the WGA ‘s heavy weapon against the conglomerated corporations ” ( Banks, 28 ) . Both web logs served the “ digital populace ” , supplying a strike-specific infinite that was non available through the mainstream imperativeness ( ibid ) .

The WGA-W used these web logs to antagonize the negative image the AMPTP was seeking to portray of the brotherhood. Banks states that the authors were to the full cognizant of the “ power of the image, and of a good laugh ” and immersed their originative energy into bring forthing humourous and sharp picture explicating the work stoppage and the demand for viewer support of the WGA ‘s attempts ( 29 ) . For illustration, United Hollywood posted a picture and web log station stating people to purchase WGA pencils and get off them to the AMPTP and to any studios whose shows they enjoyed ( Walters, 67 ) ; they chose pencils because it had become the symbol for their cause ( “ we are seting them down until we get a just trade ” ) ( “ Pencils2MediaMoguls ” , parity. 4 ) . The range of these pictures was extended: “ The Office is Closed ” , which was produced by the authors of the show The Office, received more than 280, 000 positions in its first hebdomad on YouTube ( Walters, 66 ) . Support for the work stoppage became international, with authors from around the universe take parting in mass meetings ( e.g. UK, Germany, France, and many more ) ( Ertan et al. ) .

Indeed, the tactics used by the WGA-W to increase public consciousness were effectual. Harmonizing to Nielson study released after the work stoppage, 100 per centum of the 800 respondents were cognizant of the work stoppage, with 77 per centum back uping the authors ( Banks, 28 ) . Similarly, despite the AMPTP ‘s efforts to interrupt resoluteness of Guild members, the WGA managed to remain united throughout the 100 yearss of the work stoppage ( Banks, 30 ) . Finally, on February 12, 2008, after 100 yearss of picketing, the rank of the WGA voted to stop the work stoppage against the MPTP, with 92.5 per centum vote in support ( Handler et al. 2 ) . The WGA were able to get some legal power over new media with the new contract, “ having between 2 and 3 per centum for streaming on-line content, and their compensation for downloads doubled for remainders selling more than 100, 000 units ” ( Klowden et. Al ) . The work stoppage was successful in altering unjust compensation rates.

The success of the authors ‘ work stoppage of 2007-2008 prevarications in the care of a strong house brotherhood in add-on to the increased degree of public consciousness. Had the WGAW been disorganized in their dramatic methods and had they been unable to keep the flow of information, so Guild members and the populace could non hold been kept informed, and therefore the AMPTP would hold controlled all public perceptual experiences of the work stoppage. A disorganised brotherhood can non win in coercing alteration through a work stoppage. An illustration of this is the Detroit Newspaper work stoppage of 1995, which ended in a prodigious failure.

Get downing on July 13 1995, six brotherhoods stand foring over 2,500 employees “ walked off the occupation ” after contract dialogues with The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press broke down ( Smith & A ; Featherstone, 123 ) . The work stoppage ended after 19 months on February 14, 1997, when the brotherhoods agreed to unconditioned offers to return to work ( Taylor, 166 ) . Harmonizing to Professor John A. Taylor, the work stoppage was “ doomed from the minute the brotherhoods, without equal planning and readying, launched their doomed walk out ” ( ibid ) . The good organized companies were prepared for the walk-out and were able to go on their operations during the work stoppage utilizing the newspapers to command public sentiment ( Taylor, 167 ) . This readying and control of public perceptual experience proved to be the “ decisive difference between winning and losing the conflict ” ( ibid ) .

Therefore, after an in depth analysis of the successful authors ‘ work stoppage of 2007-2008, it is apparent that when undertaken by well-organized and incorporate trade brotherhoods, and when communicating with the populace is expeditiously maintained, trade work stoppages can turn out to be effectual in defying unjust on the job conditions. The Guild was highly good prepared, and their opposition methods were exceptionally organized. This included an unfastened line of communicating between WGA-W leaders and Guild members, in add-on to guaranting the populace was informed about and included in work stoppage activities.

Therefore, from an employee ‘s position, the benefits of a strong, cohesive trade brotherhood are legion. However, when brotherhood negotiants fail to make an understanding with the direction, this failure can go forth the employees idle ( William et al. 101 ) . In economic work stoppages, employers are non obligated to reinstate brotherhood members if the work stoppage fails ( Mathis & A ; Jackson, 544 ) . Herein lays the importance of strategic planning and executing. Indeed, it is good to hold your voice represented by being a member of a big, supportive group, but wisdom prevarications in picking these conflicts shrewdly and holding dynamic leading to back up the cause.