Soap opera writers reportedly being bullied by higher ups into accepting less work and less pay

Posted Wednesday, September 02, 2015 12:01:28 PM
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Soap opera writers are reportedly being forced by producers to request WGA waivers that result in less work and less pay.

Interesting behind-the-scenes news out from Deadline today: apparently, soap opera producers are "bullying" their writers into requesting waivers from Writers Guild of America to take pay cuts and receive less work.

The problem, described as "particularly insidious" by one guild source, is become rampant -- but writers are afraid to speak up for fear of losing their jobs altogether.

"Writers have told the guild this is happening," one WGA source says of the situation, which is reportedly happening mostly at The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the Restless.

As Deadline spells out, the guild's contract states that a show's writers have to be given at least one assignment per week, but writers can ask for a waiver to reduce their workload for personal emergencies like illness or family issues.

"Some crafty producers, however, allegedly have been gaming the system by bullying less-favored writers into asking the guild for waivers to reduce their assignments by one or more a month, even though they actually want to continue working full time," states the website. "Sources say that some writers have been forced to give up a script or two a month so that an actor or a line producer can write a show or so a new writer can be brought in at no extra cost."

Current guild records show that from June 2014 to June 2015, 16 waivers were granted to B&B writers, six were granted to Y&R writers, and one was granted to a writer from Days of our Lives.

"The number of waiver requests have multiplied over the last decade," Karen Harris, a WGA board member, former soap writer, and former chair of the guild's Daytime Writers Committee who sits on the guild's Waiver Committee, told Deadline. "Hardly a month goes by when we don't have a waiver request or two."

Harris continued, "Daytime has contracted. The pool of available writers is large, and in order for any given writer to continue working in their genre, they're finding themselves in a position of having to accept what the producers demand."

For more on this story, check out Deadline's full article here.

What do you think about writers being bullied into accepting less pay and less work? Do you think it's a reasonable way for producers to keep the shows on the air? Or do you think the show's writers deserve better? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.

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