Labor Fight Brewing Over 'All My Children' (Exclusive)
There's trouble brewing in Pine Valley: The union that represents the "All My Children" crew thinks the soap may be underpaying its members.
The issue is between Prospect Park, the production company that gave the sudser a new life on the internet, and the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees - Local 52. Representatives from IATSE are going over the production's books to see if "All My Children" has gone over budget and violated a labor agreement in the process, according to an individual with knowledge of the union's plans.
When Prospect Park revived the canceled ABC program for the web this year, it hammered out a deal with the union that allowed it to pay members less than the standard day rate as long as it did not spend more than $125,000 per episode.
The union believes that on certain episodes, "All My Children" may have more than doubled that figure.
A spokeswoman for Prospect Park declined to comment on any discussions with IATSE but was adamant that the budget of each episode was well below $100,000.
IATSE-Local 52 did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
If the production is found to have gone over budget, that could trigger tens of thousands of dollars in back pay to union members.
It also may mean that Prospect Park will have to shoulder additional costs, such as travel expenses for crew members, that it was able to forgo as a result of its reduced budget.
"They're going to owe all these people a ton of money if they messed up," the individual told TheWrap.
Moreover, the union believes that Prospect Park's decision to broadcast episodes of "All My Children" on FX Canada also violates its contractual agreement to only release episodes on the internet during the nine months after they are produced. As with any budget overages, crew members also will be compensated if Prospect Park did indeed run afoul of the contract.
The company announced last month that it will no longer air episodes of the show in Canada.
Meanwhile, "All My Children" will go on a three-month hiatus because Prospect Park announced in May that it has decided to only release two episodes of each show a week, as opposed to five. That gives the company a backlog of episodes.
Prospect Park said the decision was made in response to online viewing patterns that favor binge consumption of episodes.
The company said in a statement that the decision to reduce the number of weekly episodes invalidated its agreement with FX Canada.
Budget issues were part of the reason that nearly two years passed between ABC's decision to cancel the soap and Prospect Park's revival of the program last April. It also begin airing episodes of "One Life to Live," another cancelled soap opera.
After Prospect Park worked out a deal to license "All My Children," an attempt to resuscitate the soap in 2011 was scotched when it could not secure the backing to produce the hundreds of episodes a soap airs annually.
When it was broadcast on ABC, "All My Children" carried a reported production budget of $50 million a year.