For the first time in twenty years, Actors’ Equity is unionizing a national tour. They have filed with the National Labor Relations Board after conducting a card campaign among actors and stage managers working the nonunion touring production of Waitress. They are currently awaiting a response from their employer, the touring production company NETworks.
NETworks did not respond when reached out to for comment for this article.
According to Equity’s Mobilization Director, Stefanie Frey, the main impetus to unionize the tour was the fact that there are two Waitress tours currently running: one union, the other nonunion. In the nonunion tour, actors and stage managers are making a third as much as the workers on the union tour. Their daily expense allowance on the tour is so low that they are digging into their own savings to pay for food and transportation. One performer is working a day job. Others are going into debt to pay their bills.