In a report today via Deadline, the entertainment industry news outlet, it has come to light at the WGA (Writers Guild of America) that soap producers, most notably from CBS Daytime’s: The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the Restless appear to be in some form “bullying” their soap scribes, according to the allegations in the item.
The “particularly insidious” problem that’s “cropping up regularly on daytime TV”, according to Deadline’s sources has that the producers of the soaps are asking their writers to request waivers from the WGA to take pay cuts and to take less work.
According to Deadline: “The guild contract requires a soap to give writers one assignment a week. But writers can ask for a waiver to cut back on the workload if they have a legitimate reason, such as illness or a family emergency. Some crafty producers, however, allegedly have been gaming the system by bullying less-favored writers into requesting waivers to reduce their assignments by one or more a month, even though they actually want to continue working full time. 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. ”
They add: “The contract language governing these waivers was meant to protect writers by mandating that the request come from the writer. If it does, the contract requires the guild to grant the waiver, but if the guild determines that it originated from the company, it can refuse. The guild, however, has yet to deny such a waiver requested by a soap writer.” Dan Wilcox,who raised the issue in his campaign for election to the WGA board of directors, called it an “unfair labor practice. It’s a way to hire people at below the contracted minimum.” In his campaign statement, Wilcox noted: “Over the last few years, a couple of the companies have begun using the reduced-load waivers to punish some writers and reward others. The companies tell the writers in disfavor to apply for a ‘half-deal’ waiver or be fired. Given a choice between some income and none, the writers request the waiver.”
As far the actual number of waivers requested by the writers from the different network soaps, they report: From June 2014 through June 2015, the guild granted 23 such waivers to soap writers – 16 on CBS’ The Bold And The Beautiful, six to writers on the network’s The Young And The Restless, and one to a writer on NBC’s Days Of Our Lives.
What do you think of this situation which allegedly has writers feeling “forced” to get a waiver to continue to work or potentially lose their job? In the contracted scene of the daytime drama, where only four remain, is it just a sign of the times with budgets so tight an effort to cut corners, the show’s are asking their writers to do so? Is it complete and unfair business practices to have writers, who have the hardest job in the soaps, being completely taking advantage of? Share your thoughts below!