As a member of the Writers Guild of America, I stand in solidarity with all union members who seek fair and reasonable wages and benefits. I do not, however, stand in solidarity with the union members who baked Ryan Bueler under a hot light as he exercised his right of free speech on June 25th.
I have been around union members all my professional life. They are the real heroes of a production. They work long hours, they make everyone else look good, and they are some of the kindest and most jovial people to spend time with. I’ll take a union member over a politician any day.
But not when they behave like this.
This is America. Everyone has a right to express an opinion. If you don’t like it, protest in a respectable manner. However, the behavior of Jimmy Kimmel’s crew was wrong on every count — and in direct opposition with what they hoped to achieve.
First, they succeeded in attracting attention to, and making a martyr out of, the very Pro-Life movement they are opposed to. Second, by manhandling Jeff White — on tape — they potentially exposed themselves to misdemeanor battery charges (Cal. Penal Code Sec. 242). Apparently, only by the misguided grace of LAPD Chief Charlie Beck have they yet to be arrested. Third, and perhaps most significantly, their faces have been caught on tape. All it takes is one grudge-holder to make mincemeat out of their livelihood.
In the bigger picture, I am angry and disappointed that the faces of union members are repeatedly seen on the Internet engaging in sadistic, thuggish behavior. There is no excuse for this. None. All it does is set back the cause of labor, and turn public opinion against us. I do not believe these unruly individuals represent the rank and file, which should be a clarion call to said rank and file — stop letting your union get usurped by thugs and corrupt chieftains. There are more of you than there are of them. Stop sitting on your collective asses and do something about these cretins.
The concepts of a union are, and should be, simple: create a deterrent to prevent management from taking advantage of labor. Negotiate fair and reasonable working contracts. Engage management in a manner that aligns interests. Exercise political clout prudently and with honor.
But stop behaving this way. It serves no useful purpose, and sets back our cause.