NEW YORK CITY: Actors’ Equity Association and the Off-Broadway League recently announced the settlement of a new three-year collective bargaining agreement. The agreement comes after over a year of COVID-19 challenges, and focuses on workplace safety and financial stability for theatre workers. The agreement also includes provisions aimed to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion, and protocols for addressing harassment and discrimination.
The agreement begins retroactively on Aug. 1 and expires on July 28, 2024.
Key provisions include:
- Pay increases for actors and stage managers to help provide long-term financial security.
- Updated language around diverse and inclusive casting and hiring policies and practices.
- Creation of new work schedules during rehearsal workweeks and tech time to provide workers with continued flexibility.
- Removal of gender binary-based distinctions wherever possible throughout the hiring and production process.
- Strengthened language and policies prohibiting discrimination and harassment, and clear procedures for addressing complaints.
- Ability for producers to make their Off-Broadway productions available to a broader audience base through streaming platforms.
The provisions also include COVID-19 protocols and other safety stipulations reflecting the needs of actors, stage managers and producers when it comes to staying safe from illness.
“This agreement puts everyone on the path to recovery after an unprecedented period of uncertainty for our industry,” said Casey York, president of the Off-Broadway League, in a statement. “Our goal heading into these sessions was always to secure a long-term deal that would provide members with clarity and stability coming out of the pandemic, and we have achieved that with a new three-year agreement. I am also incredibly proud that this agreement will also help increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Off-Broadway community through new hiring practices, while also strengthening industry policies to address harassment and discrimination. I want to thank our incredible co-chairs for their hard work over these past few months. They have shown a tireless commitment to achieving a fair and equitable deal. We look forward to bringing artists and audiences back to our venues with the guidelines necessary to do so safely and equitably.”
“These were extraordinarily difficult times to negotiate a new contract, but we believe this new agreement addresses the needs of the entire Off-Broadway community and provides a path forward for continued recovery from the pandemic,” said the League’s labor co-chairs, Toni Marie Davis, Kyle Provost, and Evan O’Brient, in a joint statement. “We thank our negotiating partners at Actors’ Equity for their work and look forward to continuing to bring amazing theater back to our city.”
Said Mary McColl, executive director of Actors’ Equity Association, in a statement, “This agreement builds on the success of our last negotiation with the Off-Broadway League. The Off-Broadway League agreed that simply returning to work is not enough; the work needs to be safe and sustainable. Together we have made important inroads on wages as well as worker safety—both on COVID-19 and as it pertains to bullying, harassment and discrimination.”
“This agreement happened because we all stood together,” said Stephen Bogardus, Equity principal councilor and chair of the Off-Broadway negotiating team in a statement. “We had a diligent, passionate negotiating team, and we were able to push ahead because of solidarity from the membership at large. To those who shared their stories and offered their support in public and private, thank you for helping this industry progress. When Off-Broadway fully reopens, it will be safer and fairer for the stage managers and actors who bring in audiences.”
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