December 8, 2023

Wil Wheaton does not have patience for someone who crosses a picket line. At least not the picket line in response to the Writers Guild of America’s (WGA) strike. Jeopardy! host Ken Jennings crossed the WGA’s picket line so that he could continue filming the game show. Wil Wheaton (Big Bang Theory, Star Trek) responded with a post on Facebook.

The post had an ominous tone to it.

“This is a VERY small town, Ken Jennings, and we will all remember this,” he wrote. “Your privilege may protect you right now, but we will *never* forget.”

Wheaton also had a message for any commenters who did not share his support of unions.

He continued to share his thoughts in the comments section writing, “Hey y’all, if you’re here to s— on unions, you can f— right off. I’ve been a union man since I was a union boy, and I will be a union man until the day I die. If you’re here to s— on the workers of the world, or to make excuses for someone who is currently doing that, go f— yourself and don’t come back.”

Clear enough. The man doesn’t support scabs. Not surprising for someone who began working as a child and has been a union member since those days. It’s what he knows. However, liberals often insist that everyone go along with their opinions and this looks like one ot those times. Ken Jennings crossed the picket line to continue working his job. His co-host, Mayim Blalik, decided to stop filming for the time being.

The WGA strike began on May 2. The union seeks higher minimum pay, more writers for each show, and less exclusivity on single projects. There are other demands, too, that are conditions that have diminished in the content boom of the streaming era. This strike may go on for a while.

The last Hollywood strike, from the same union in 2007 and 2008, took three months to resolve. With no talks or even plans to talk pending between the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents studios and productions companies, there is no telling how long writers will have to go without pay, or how many major productions will be delayed, shortened or scrapped.

If the strike continues on through the summer, fall television schedules may be upended. Finished scripts are allowed to continue shooting, though. Jeopardy!‘s three writers have joined the strike.

The season of “Jeopardy!” that is currently filming was already completed, but Bialik chose to step back anyway. Jennings led the first half of season 39, and Bialik was set to host the second half. She had just a week of filming left before she chose to exit in solidarity with the writers strike.

The final episodes of season 39 will be filmed from May 16 to 19 at the Sony Pictures lot in Culver City, according to Deadline.

WGA is serious about calling out those who cross their picket lines. The union set up a hotline for anyone who sees someone crossing a picket line to make a report. “You must inform The Guild.” Those who don’t report others face penalties themselves.

The Writers Guild of America has established a site on its Strike Hub where members can and must report strike breakers. Those who fail to report suspected “scabs” can face discipline themselves. After the last writers’ strike – a 100-day walkout in 2007-08 – a dozen members were brought up on trial for strike breaking, three of whom were found guilty. The current strike is now in its eleventh day.

“You must inform the Guild of the name of any writer you have reason to believe is engaged in scab writing or other strikebreaking activity,” the guild’s Strike Rule #9 tells members. “To the extent possible, you should be specific about the nature of the violation, including the date and place of the violation, the name of the struck company involved, and the name of the project, if any.”

Strike Rules include discipline in the form of expulsion or suspension from Guild membership, monetary fines, or censure. It is imposed through courts. Those actions are meant to protect the Guild from “conduct harmful to a strike effort.” If members are honoring picket lines, the strike won’t succeed.

I’m a conservative pro-business kind of person. I’ve never been a union member. I know that members appreciate the feeling of protection a union offers but I think the cost is too high. Especially since most unions are politically active. Members don’t often get a say in how dues money is spent in the political arena. That can’t make conservative members happy, given the political leanings of union officials. Now they expect members to narc on other members who may simply want to keep working to support themselves and their families. That’s cringeworthy.