West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Volume 77, Number 24 | November 14 - 20, 2007

Villager photos by Jefferson Siegel

Above, left: Seth Meyers (center), “Saturday Night Live” head writer and cast member, and striking writers picketing last Wednesday outside Chelsea Piers. Above, right: Mary Harron, screenwriter and director of “American Psycho,” “I Shot Andy Warhol” and “The Notorious Bettie Page,” and Jim Solomon, writer of “The Bronx is Burning” ESPN series and a Community Board 2 member, picketing outside Chelsea Piers.

‘It’s about fairness’: Striking scribes picket at piers

Last Wednesday, striking members of the Writers’ Guild of America/East brought their picket line to Chelsea Piers, where the TV series “Law & Order” is filmed.

Banging drums, blowing whistles and holding signs, the strikers were adamant about their position.
“I think it’s to defend a basic American principle,” said Rene Balcer, the show runner of “Law & Order.” “This is really an attack on the middle class. I don’t think these people we’re negotiating with are being responsible corporate citizens.”

The strikers said if there is no resolution by mid-December, production of “Law & Order” would have to stop by Christmas.

The main sticking point is payment for shows and films distributed through the Internet and wireless networks.

“Most of the issues are about fairness,” said Jim Solomon, writer of the recent “The Bronx is Burning” ESPN series and chairperson of Community Board 2’s Chinatown Committee. “Writers want to share in success. Most of the issues stem from new media and the writers are negotiating for a piece of that pie, albeit a small piece.”

Mike Cohen, a Hell’s Kitchen resident who writes for daytime television, echoed that sentiment: “The companies are making a vast amount of money on new media and DVDs, and the fact that they’re holding that back is an outrage.”

Each day, the writers are picketing a different location around the city.

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