This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, General Hospital being covered here wouldn’t exist. We stand with the WGA and SAG-AFTRA.
We at Fangirlish are huge fans of General Hospital and Sprina. But to be honest, we were surprised to learn that production of America’s longest-running soap opera continues despite the strikes. Do you want to know more?
Here we go!
According to The Verge, General Hospital decided to keep its daily production running and, to do so, ABC turned to scabs writers, that is, non-WGA members. One of the show’s writers, Shannon Peace, shared the news on her Instagram account, saying: “Starting next week, the show will be written exclusively by scab writers, which is heartbreaking.”
According to Peace, the show has gone through all the scripts that were written before the strike began and has now employed non-union writers to keep the show on the air. While the post is currently deleted, we get the point.
People who cross the picket lines to take advantage of the strike and usurp the place of a colleague are met with the full rejection of the union. However, it must be taken into account those soap operas, because they are a daily production, are in a somewhat different situation than any other TV show or movie.
Soap opera actors are part of SAG-AFTRA but work under a different contract called the National Code of Fair Practice for Network Television Broadcasting, or Netcode. The Netcode contract governs unscripted reality shows, game shows, news shows, and non-prime-time shows like soap operas.
This contract is not due to be renegotiated until July 2024, which means that actors under Netcode contracts are allowed to continue working on Netcode-affiliated projects and are not crossing picket lines.
So, technically, they’re not doing anything wrong, but…ethically? It’s something different and much more complex. And of course, ABC takes advantage of this and they are crossing all the lines.