In Depth

WGA East Files Arbitration Cases Over Soap Operas’ Replacement Writers

The Writers Guild of America, East, has filed separate arbitration cases against ABC and Corday Productions for allegedly violating the guild’s strike termination agreement by retaining writers hired during the writers strike earlier this year.

The WGAE alleges that Corday Productions, which produces “Days of Our Lives” and ABC, which produces “All My Children,” hired replacement writers during the 100-day WGA strike and has not terminated these employees. Instead, the replacement writers are preventing striking guild writers from returning to their positions, the WGAE said.

“The strike termination agreement does not allow the retention of replacement writers in lieu of allowing striking writers to return to their jobs. ABC and Corday Productions are clearly violating this agreement,” said Ira Cure, senior counsel for the Writers Guild of America, East. “They have left us no other option but to file arbitrations to ensure our members will be afforded their rights outlined under this agreement.”

The companies have 10 days to respond to the cases.

The Writers Guild of America went on strike Nov. 5 over issues including residual payments for online distribution of content. A lack of writers forced numerous shows out of production and cost the Los Angeles economy an estimated $2.1 billion. The strike was resolved in mid-February.

Representatives of Corday were not available for immediate comment.

NBC, which airs “Days of Our Lives,” had no comment.

"We are in full compliance with our contract and the allegation is untrue," ABC said.

A network source familiar with the situation said the WGAE was grandstanding because it subverted direct discussion in favor of announcing arbitration straight to the press.

(3:25: Updated final four paragraphs)