Actors' Equity authorizes strike that could halt development of plays and musicals
The artists and managers union is currently negotiating a development agreement with the Broadway League which expired on February 11.
12:40 p.m. ET, updated with a response from the Broadway League.
The professional union for actors and stage managers, Actors' Equity Association, has authorized a development strike against the Broadway League, a move that could result in the suspension of development workshops for plays and musicals. It should be noted that this authorization did not trigger an actual strike.
The strike is reportedly over a development agreement, which governs the terms under which actors and stage managers work on development workshops before full productions. The development of this agreement already gave rise to a strike in 2019, over what was then called a laboratory agreement. This strike lasted 33 days.
The current development agreement expired on February 11. The union and the Broadway League have been in negotiations for a new agreement since January 22.
We know that developing a show is work, said Equity Executive Director and Lead Negotiator Al Vincent, Jr. in a statement. We hope this development work will lead to successful shows, some of which will have a long lifespan with many iterations that can make producers a lot of money. We know there's no revenue from the dev sessions themselves, but it still works, and it doesn't change whether there's revenue today or whether it's an investment that producers make in exchange for future profits. And this work must be paid appropriately.
“We have engaged in good faith negotiations with Actors Equity regarding development work,” read a statement from Broadway League general counsel and executive vice president of labor relations Jason Laks. “These negotiations have no impact on Broadway or touring productions. The contract we are negotiating only covers short-term employment in the early stages of development work on projects that may or may not become fully produced productions. As the Union itself has done, “We recognize that this work does not generate income for producers. We look forward to returning to the negotiating table and continuing our efforts to reach an agreement. “
It has generally been difficult for organizations to find the right balance between remuneration of actors and stage managers during the development process and profit sharing agreements for subsequent productions, the latter of which aims to compensate workshop participants for their contribution. to the final work. Before the lab deal, the workshop cast collectively shared 1% of the show's future profits (i.e., after the initial investment was recouped), and the Broadway League used this as a way to enable lower pay during the workshop itself. The lab deal increased actor pay for development work, but removed future profit sharing, a notion that returned with the 2019 development deal. The union has not been specific about its demands or grievances this time.
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