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Will Soap Opera Actors Strike Next?

As a result of the ongoing strike by members of the Writer’s Guild of America, most of Hollywood has been paralyzed since the beginning of last month, unable to move forward with producing new material. So far, soap operas have fared better than most other genres, thanks to the advanced production schedule of daytime dramas and future scripts that could be written by non-union writers or scribes that go fi-core and give up their union rights. However, there is now a pending actors’ strike on the horizon — which would make it much more difficult to keep soap operas running!

The current contract between the actors’ union, SAG-AFTRA, and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) is set to expire on June 30. Bargaining for new television and theatrical contracts will begin on Wednesday, June 7, but on June 5, a whopping 97% of SAG-AFTRA members voted to authorize a strike if the AMPTP — which represents the industry’s major studios and streaming sites — won’t reach a fair deal with the union. “Together we lock elbows and in unity, we build a new contract that honors our contributions in this remarkable industry, reflects the new digital and streaming business model, and brings all our concerns for protections and benefits into the now!” said SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher.

While it’s not a foregone conclusion that an actors’ strike will happen, the possibility is there — meaning that GENERAL HOSPITAL, THE BOLD & THE BEAUTIFUL, THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS, and DAYS OF OUR LIVES will not be able to continue to produce new shows without the cast members who bring the characters to life. According to Backstage, SAG-AFTRA members will be required to strike, forcing scripted union series shoots to shut down.

Among the issues the union is fighting for are better compensation and benefits, improved residuals with the rising popularity of streaming systems, protection for members against artificial intelligence, and regulations on self-taped auditions (which have become more common since the start of the pandemic).

GH’s Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis) is just one of the outspoken performers weighing in on the union’s preparations to go on strike. “97% of actors agreeing to strike if things don’t change is a massive show of solidarity and a clear message that ‘Something is rotten in the state of Denmark,’” she tweeted. “It’s necessary and correct for AMPTP to measure up to the moment and fix what’s broke. It’s the honorable thing to do.”

Hopefully, a fair resolution can be reached before the June 30 deadline so our shows can go on!

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