I can still remember back in the 80s when Ronald Regan fired Air Traffic Controllers who had gone on strike.
My memory is vivid on this because I remember hearing someone say how happy they were that someone finally stood up to the unions and called their bluff.
I also remember my dad, an oxymoron on some issues, being a little angry about that. Angry because he was a staunch Ronald Regan supporter, but also a supporter of unions.
While finding a connection with the strike may seem odd at first, I hope the little story below makes sense in the end.
I remember sitting in a bar sometime after Gay Pride years ago, as a very young guy was complaining that Gay Pride was so unnecessary. His argument (this was during the Clinton era if I remember correctly) was that gay people are so integrated into society that having a special parade, or pride celebration was unnecessary at best, and at worse, silly.
My friends looked at him and smiled, one asking if he knew why celebrations were, typically, held in June. His quick answer was because it was summer weather and a good excuse for walking around in short sleeves, or no shirt at all.
It was obvious to all of us that he had never heard about Stonewall. About the riots or even how gay people had been treated long before he, or any of us at the table, came into this world. I even told him the story of visiting Singapore a couple years before and the potential problem a friend nearly caused.
While sitting at a bar in that far away, and amazingly modern, country my friend leaned into his new friend (an ex-pat from Australia) while laughing at a joke.
Immediately the bar owner came by and chided all of us, the American's and the Aussie for such an outrageous show of affection. I'm not kidding when I tell you that my friend was sitting next to this guy, laughed at his joke, his shoulder leaning into the back shoulder of the Aussie in the most innocent way. My buddy's hand touched the Aussies back more to break his lean than to cop a feel.
Talk about a buzz kill. We looked to the owner in disbelief. We honestly thought there was no way anyone could have misconstrued that friendly, drunken, lean as anything other than ... a lean.
Immediately the Aussie apologized and promised it wouldn't happen again. We were dumbfounded again, this time at his comment. The bar owner went on to say that if there were a policeman in the bar he could make life very difficult for the owner and us as well.
The young man to whom I was relating the story, thought for sure I was making it up. I assured him I wasn't.
Now back to the strike.
I have to say I have yet to meet anyone, and I do mean anyone, who doesn't agree with the WGA on this issue. I'm not saying those who disagree don't exist, I'm just saying I have yet to meet them.
Even some producers, members of the AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers), have gone on record in agreement with the writers. It's obvious to most that the strike is really more against the studios than producers themselves.
The reason I brought up that earlier story is because I think a lot of people have forgotten what it is that unions provide. Much like the young man had no idea why Pride events are held in the summer (that's when the Stonewall Riots took place) many forget that Unions are, at least in part, responsible for 40 hour and five day work weeks, vacation time and safe working conditions. And any number of other elements of employment that we take for granted.
Yes, I know there are some who would argue that unions are no longer necessary. And when I hear that I can't help but think of that young man in the bar. His comments were made at a time when few could have imagined "gay rights" would once again be characterized as "special rights". And treating others fairly was all well and good unless you were a member of a minority class. Or a member of a union.
So many talented people on the picket lines and so many of them documenting their experience. And some, showing how creative they truly are. When the strike is over, give this man a show!