Monday, February 11, 2008

Ed Bernero's letter to the fans of Criminal Minds, Feb. 11, 2007.

Ed Bernero's letter to the fans of Criminal Minds, Feb. 11, 2007.

Dear Fanatics --

By now, most of you have heard that there's at
least an end to the strike in view. The membership
will be voting on Tuesday whether to call off the
stoppage and then, in ten days, on the acceptance of
the contract proposed. The proposed agreement our
negotiators reached with the AMPTP is not all that we
hoped it would be, but I believe it gives us important
inroads for the future of our industry.

This has been an incredibly difficult time for
everyone who works in this business and I think most
are ready to go back to work (though I do believe that
we would have stayed out much longer if need be).
There are things that happened over the last four
months I'm very proud of. There are also things that
dishearten me greatly, both in the actions of my
fellow Guild members and actions on the companies
part. There was a sense of team work within the
framework of what we, the studios and the networks
were doing that I think was harmed and is going to
take a long time to rebuild. A sense of trust that
will be hard to get back. I think, in the end, when
we look at what the companies agreed to, my biggest
question is, "Why?" Why was this stoppage necessary
to even obtain the tiniest bit of fairness?

You will hear in the coming months and years many
analyses of the strike and it's consequences,
strategies, and victories/defeats. I'm sure there
will be much discussion of how SAG staying united with
the WGA put enormous pressure on the AMPTP. How the
side deals made with smaller companies put pressure on
the larger companies. How the companies were not as
prepared for this strike as they suggested they were.
How the canceling of the Golden Globes and the
impending threat to the Oscars was the final straw.
How the DGA never would have been able to negotiate
the deal they did without the pressure put on the
AMPTP by the strike. All of this is true.

But there's something you may not hear as much in
the future that I want you to know we are acutely
aware of. You fans put equally as much pressure on
these huge, multi-national corporations. I'm
absolutely certain they NEVER expected that. You
participated loudly and often. Petitions and pencils
and drives for strike funds and auctions and letters
and phone calls and faxes. They heard you. We know
they heard you and we are eternally in your debt for
the support. Never forget that you made a difference.
In some respects, the most important difference.

While it happened across the board, fans of many
shows were involved in their own (as well as shared)
activities, the Criminal Minds Fanatics distinguished
themselves. And we aren't the only ones who noticed.
John Bowman, the Guild's Chair of Negotiations said to
me in the beginning of January, while you were in the
midst of your petition drive, "Wow -- the Criminal
Minds fans are pretty amazing." No kidding. I told
him he didn't know the half of it.

On a personal note, the money you selflessly
collected was used to help our crew members when they
needed it. Let me thank you for them. The endlessly
positive continued support on the site provided
untold comfort in the darkest days. The food you sent
to the picket line became a highlight of every day out
there. The petition reminded the people in charge
at the companies that you were not willing to just
watch anything they put out there. That you care
about this show and, especially, that you care about
the people who make it.

We are going back to work soon and we will be
making as many new episodes for this season as we can
in the time we have left. We don't know how many that
will be yet (those discussions will be ongoing and, if
we get some definitive answer, I will come back to the
board and let you all know), but we promise to work as
hard as we can to give you, our family, the show we
all love.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. As always, you
humble me.

Ed Bernero