Sunday, November 18, 2007

Odd Woman Out

Strike supporter here. Bought a t-shirt. Signed the petition. Converted my blog pic. Added strike video. Follow the strike news every day. But I'm not doing this. Regardless of all the green friendly plans made by the masterminds, I see wasted dollars and anticipate crates of broken pencils delivered to strike captains. This doesn't feel like professional writers asking for fair treatment. It feels like teenagers toilet papering houses. Supporter/fan driven idea or not, I don't think it's a good one.

But just so there's no misunderstanding - while the pencil stunt does not have my support, the writers most certainly do.


StealthBadger said...

Just a note.

Having known a union organizer for some time, and known many union members and activists, the one thing they all agree on (some of them bitterly) is that when an employer is not negotiating in good faith, the only thing that works is confrontation, in whatever form it comes that avoids harm (they highly recommend humor, though, as it makes observers laugh and erodes anti-union sentiment).

I know I'm presenting apocryphal summaries as evidence, so don't expect to be taken seriously. ^.^

Mostly, I just wanted to say "thank you for stopping by!" And nice blog!

MaryAn Batchellor said...

Hey, thanks for stopping by! Liked your blog, too.

I know I'm in the minority on this pencil argument and I have profound respect for the point people are trying to make. But if each box is $1.00 and 2000 boxes are sent, that's $2000 that could have gone to a charity where somebody could have guaranteed the money didn't go to waste.

I'm an accountability girl and I think that's why I don't have too much trouble raising funds in times of disaster. Any time anyone has given me donations - whether it was for Katrina victims, tornado recovery, a senior citizen center, or even Girl Scout cookies - whatever it was for, I made sure they knew exactly where their money went.

My biggest issue with the pencil project is the unknown. We don't know what will become of the pencils and yet we're asking people to spend money on them. We could see 500 or 50,000. Who knows? But that's still a lot of money that could go to something else with a guaranteed result - in other words, something we know for certain won't be destroyed or tossed into a dumpster.

Personally, I think it would be better if each of those $1.00 bills went to a WGA charity.

StealthBadger said...

Hm. We're not thinking on dissimilar lines, so much.

I dropped a small amount on pencils, thinking that I could find a WGA charity to provide for necessities (the core of a strike is endurance). I figured feeding both the symbolic and the nuts-n-bolts couldn't hurt too much.

The accountability thing is definitely a question, though. Especially since running a ripoff charity has become even more of a cottage industry.

MaryAn Batchellor said...

Good article! Thanks for the info!

StealthBadger said...

*poingpoings around the Intertubes lookin' for stuffs, curious and checkin' on everything and everyone the way he always does*

*finds some stuffs*

*comes back, applauds, and blogrolls*

Anonymous said...

reminds me of the bag o nuts mail in campaign to CBS to save Jericho show...

MaryAn Batchellor said...

Todd, as of today, there have been 240,000 pencils donated or 20,000 boxes to the tune of $20,000. That's a lot of money that could go to fund something tangible - duct tape, shirts, signs, the fund that helps writers who can't pay their bills during the strike, whatever. Now, I'm not saying the pencil thing should stop. It's too late for that. It just feels wasteful to me since it's "unknown" what will happen to the pencils.

I know campaigns aren't cheap. My local government background tells me that. But the "unknown" is what bothers me. We don't even know if the pencils will pass the mail room. $20,000 worth and still counting! I guess I'm the only person who thinks a crap shoot is just not a good way for people to donate their money.

Grubber said...

Not sure if this will help ease your mind Maryan but I thought I recalled something from that pencil campaign(which I read after I had sent my choccies..of course!)

What happens to the money from the pencils?
Anything we have left over from our costs will go into the Union Solidarity Fund, which was created to help non-WGA members affected by the strike.

Obviously, the "anything left over" is pretty open for interpretation and lacks less accountability than saying something like "it costs 74.5c to buy and freight each pencil, therefore 25.5c of each dollar is going to the Solidarity Fund, yadda yadda yadda.

As a symbol I think it is a strong, easily identifiable and one that the average person can relate to, so for that alone, kudos to them for running with it.

End of the day, we work out a fool-proof kidnap plot, take the 6 or so heads of studio and Jack Bauer their arses for a few days. I'm thinking DVD residuals at 20c a unit :)
PS do you need notes on the Aquawoman script yet? Does it have pictures?

VDOVault said...

MaryAn if you're looking for other things to do you can always stop in on us here:

We've been phoning media moguls per this post

MaryAn Batchellor said...

Thanks. Will check the site out. Found the phone call plan on unitedhollywood. Good plan. Very professional. I got no problem with fans calling and making their voice heard although I think most callers aren't getting through to the people they're trying to reach. Doesn't matter. Jamming the phone system works, too as long as everyone remains professional.

$28,047 (that we know of) has been spent on pencils, however, and I don't think the pencils have been delivered. Just wondering what happens to all those pencils if an agreement is reached before they're sent? Even if they're donated some place, that's a lot of money on pencils in a season where people need toys and blankets and food on their table and a lot of writers may be borrowing from Peter to pay Paul because of the strike.

I can't speak for the rest of the country but in North Texas, our food pantries are facing a serious shortage.