WGA pickets in East Hampton

The New Yorker writes up an odd little WGAe labor action taking place at the East Hampton studios of ‘It’s A Big, Big World’, a PBS show paying below-scale wages to a non-guild staff:

Last month, aggrieved members of the Writers Guild of America East set up a picket line outside Wainscott Studios, a television-production facility, where “It’s a Big, Big World,” a new PBS children’s show with a non-guild writing staff, is shooting. They brought with them a familiar labor mascot, a fifteen-foot-tall inflatable rat, on loan from the Musicians Local 802. Since then, demonstrators have been showing up every weekday at the studio, to chant slogans, demand negotiations, and shout one name over and over: Mitchell Kriegman.

(Kriegman is the show’s exeutive producer.) And wait! There’s a special guest star picketer!

On the picket line, the strikers were joined by Budd Schulberg, the ninety-one-year-old screenwriter and author, who had driven from Westhampton to be there. Schulberg is best known for his Oscar-winning 1954 screenplay for “On the Waterfront,” an indictment of corruption in the New York dockworkers’ union. Schulberg, who has been a member of the guild since 1936, recalled meeting in secret during its early days and, later, walking a picket line with Dorothy Parker. “I was part of the struggle from the beginning,” he said. “We had no pension, no health plan, no job security-nothing. We’ve made tremendous strides, but the fight never ends. Now we’re getting screwed on DVDs.”

Which is true. Anyway, if anyone wants to help out the picketers in a gesture of west coast / east coast WGA solidarity (and lord knows, there are some bridges to mend), the number of Main Street Pizza in East Hampton is (860) 267-0326. They deliver. I hear Schulberg likes extra cheese.