Now that the strike is in its eighth week, the Writers Guild of America is bringing out the big guns. The union has hired veteran Democratic political consultants Bill Carrick and Kam Kuwata to provide public relations assistance and strategic solutions. Mr. Carrick oversaw the campaign of former Los Angeles mayor James Hahn and the gubernatorial campaign of Treasurer Phil Angelides against Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Mr. Kuwata worked with Mr. Carrick on the Mr. Hahn race and has long been a top political adviser to Sen. Diane Feinstein, running her 1992 and 1994 campaigns.
"We both have friends in the WGA," Kuwata told Daily Variety. "And we have landed a lot of times on the sides that are pro-labor."
The duo came aboard earlier this month at the guild’s behest in the wake of the Dec. 7 collapse of negotiations between the WGA and the AMPTP, which insisted that the guild remove half a dozen proposals from the table as a condition of continuing to bargain. The WGA refused, and no new talks have been scheduled, while the Directors Guild of America is widely expected to set a start date for negotiations on its contract within the next week.
Kuwata said he and Carrick will work for the WGA for as long as needed.
In their first major task for the WGA, Carrick and Kuwata helped organize the guild’s participation in the well-publicized Dec. 19 hearing at Los Angeles City Hall on the economic impact of the work stoppage.
The WGA’s been touting the fact that recent polls show the general public backing writers, such as last week’s USA Today/Gallup poll showing 60% support among respondents. Kuwata said that he’s seeing similar levels of public support in informal gatherings, such as his own family’s holiday dinner.