Violating its deal with crew members may be a costly error for the producers of "One Life to Live" and "All My Children." TheWrap has learned that the online soap operas will have to share residuals with behind the scenes workers due to excessive production costs.
In June, the soap opera's producer Prospect Park and the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees Local 52 -- the union that represents crew members -- squared off in a pitched negotiation over what the labor organization believed were a series of contract violations. The show went on hiatus 11 days early while the two sides dug in.
Armed with proof that Prospect Park had spent more than $125,000 an episode in some instances, IATSE was able to secure a precedent-shattering deal for its members. The entities reached a settlement which awards crew members a stake in future income, according to an individual with ties to the union.
Under the settlement, the crew will get a 5 percent stake in ancillary profits related to streaming deals, broadcast pacts and other revenue streams, and a slightly smaller percentage of DVD revenue. The payments will be retroactive and will apply to the dozens of episodes already completed, the individual told TheWrap.
Prospect Park had originally promised IATSE that it would keep costs below a certain budget level and would only release episodes on the internet for the nine months after they were produced; in exchange, the union agreed to lower crew rates. Prospect Park's decision last spring to broadcast episodes of "All My Children" on FX Canada violated that contractual agreement.
Consequently, for the perhaps the first time in recent history -- at least on a production of this size -- crew members will get a share of the programs' residual income.
A spokeswoman for Prospect Park declined to comment and a spokesperson for IATSE did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Union members will not get a higher daily rate; that was given up in lieu of residuals. However, workers who have to commute more than 60 miles to the Stamford, Conn., set will get travel pay, the individual said.
Prospect Park tried to use threats that it would move production out of the state as leverage in its negotiations, but the union did not take those claims seriously.
"It would have cost them a fortune to move," the individual noted. "They've built all of these sets. Everything they need is here."
The production company initially countered with an offer of 3.5 percent of the shows' residuals, but the union held firm and won out, the individual said.
The shows are scheduled to resume production on Aug. 12. Union members hope that the deal will be a model for future pacts that might give them a stake in the television programs and films they work on in perpetuity.