In Hollywood, the Writers Guild has signed a new contract with the movie and TV producers, averting a strike and keeping us from having to watch Jimmy Fallon try to ad-lib his way through a monologue. The Guild was able to keep pressure on the producers because it’s a strong union with a membership that held together when it came to residuals, streaming video, etc. I’m happy for friends I have who will benefit from the new three-year deal.

I’m not in the Guild, but I am a member of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, which until its merger with the Screen Actors Guild a few years ago had a reputation as the weakest union in the field. Here’s how a typical AFTRA bargaining session used to work at a local radio station or group…

AFTRA: There is no room for negotiation or bargaining. We absolutely must have these items in the new contract. 

Station Owner: No.

AFTRA: Okay. Where do we sign?