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Actors’ Equity and Off-Broadway League Reach New Collective Bargaining Agreement

PLSN Staff • NewsStage DirectionsTheater News • August 16, 2021

Actors’ Equity Association and the Off-Broadway League recently announced they have reached a new three-year collective bargaining agreement. The agreement reflects a shared commitment to deliver a contract that addresses the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and includes new workplace safety guidelines and long-term financial stability for stage managers, actors, and producers. The agreement also has new provisions that strengthen diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and protocols for addressing issues of harassment and discrimination.

The agreement begins retroactively on August 1, 2021 and expires on July 28, 2024.

Key provisions include:

  • Pay increases for stage managers and actors that 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 that provide stage managers, actors, and producers with continued flexibility
  • Removal of gender binary-based distinctions wherever possible in audition, hiring, rehearsal, and production processes
  • Enhanced language and policies prohibiting discrimination and harassment, along with clarified procedures to address complaints
  • An option for producers to make their Off-Broadway productions available to a broader audience base through streaming platforms

The agreement also includes COVID-19 protocols and other safety requirements that reflect a shared understanding of the needs of stage managers, actors, and producers when it comes to keeping everyone safe from the virus. The safety protocol recognizes the disparate needs of OBL members and provides for options that meet those needs.

“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. “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. 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 labor co-chairs Toni Marie Davis, Kyle Provost, and Evan O’Brient.

“This agreement builds on the success of our last negotiation with the Off-Broadway League,” said Mary McColl, executive director of Actors’ Equity Association. “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 Committee. “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.”

Further information from the Actors’ Equity Association: www.actorsequity.org

 

 

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