Saturday, December 29, 2007


I am happy to report that my readership is up to seven. Number seven had a question, "What is Fi-core, how does it work?" Because I'm all about service, I weighed in with my layman's understanding as well as an educated description from the Huffington post.

Financial core status is basically turning in your WGA membership card. Saying fuck you and the union you rode in on. It allows writers to work outside the boundaries of the guild. They still work within the payment and dues structure, but they are not restricted by the union parameters. I'm not sure how it affects health insurance and the other great WGA benefits.

This from the Huffington Post:

"Financial core," for those not attuned to the vagaries of labor law, is a status in which members withdraw their formal membership in the guild (as far as the guild is concerned), but are still considered guild members for legal purposes. See NLRB. v. General Motors, 373 U.S. 734 (1963) and CWA v. Beck, 487 U.S. 735, 745 (1988), both of which are Supreme Court cases.

Under the law, Fi-Core members are no longer subject to guild discipline, and can thus cross guild picket lines to work during a strike. The can also work non-union as well as union jobs, and continue to receive all benefits of guild membership, when they work a union job. They also continue to pay almost full guild dues.

Since Fi-Core members can work during a strike, the guilds would lose enormous leverage. This is because the guilds would lose the ability to shut down the industry. Production would restart, and the guild becomes a mere echo of its former self. The guilds become organizations of the disenfranchised - non-working writers and actors, and those whose stature in the industry commands only low wages. Eventually even they begin to defect. The guild survives (because Fi-Core members pay dues), but loses the ability to strike, and thus to bargain effectively.

This sounds pretty awful. But, there's a flaw in the argument: show runners and screen writers would no doubt threaten to change their status to Fi-Core and go to the WGA in massive numbers before actually doing so (likewise as to celebs and stars with respect to SAG). This is exactly what ended the 1988 strike. At that point, even the hardline guild leadership would probably listen. There would probably also be a movement among the rank-and-file to go Fi-Core as well.

Oh, Fi-core actually has nothing to with bottom bitches, I just like the way it sounded.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the explanation! Altho I must admit, I don't understand how it could be legal to get at the benefits of your Guild membership, but not be constrained to follow the organization's policies. Sounds like the kind of law that would have made Prez Reagan laugh long into the night as he dreamt of how it would destroy unions.

I know I speak for Hunter when I say "Long live Bottom Bitch"!