Following the launch of a strike yesterday, members of Actors’ Equity Association have hit the streets, asking audiences to join Equity's fight for a stronger Lab Agreement with the Broadway League. Today Equity members greeted ticket buyers outside the Broadway TKTS location and asked them to join the #NotALabRat campaign. Audience members who supported the campaign were given one of Equity’s #NotALabRat buttons to wear into their shows.
After nearly two years of unsuccessful attempts to negotiate a new contract to replace the Lab Agreement with the Broadway League, members of Actors’ Equity Association declared the strike calling for a halt to all new show development work with members of the Broadway League.
The Lab Agreement with the Broadway League is a contract used for the development of new productions, often musicals. Weekly salaries on the agreement have been frozen since 2007. The strike was authorized by Equity’s National Council and follows media reports that 2018 was Broadway’s highest-ever grossing year on record.
With the strike, Equity has placed its Lab Agreement, Workshop Agreement and Staged Reading Contract and Stage Reading guidelines with the Broadway League on its DO NOT WORK list. Any Equity member who is offered work on any developmental agreement, produced by a Broadway League member producer, should contact NotALabRat@ActorsEquity.org
Some Broadway shows – such as Frozen and Mean Girls – already offer to share profits with Equity members who worked to bring their productions to life during development on the Lab Agreement. Despite this, the Broadway League has refused to agree to profit sharing as part of the new contract.
“Equity members are united and volunteering their time to support their union because our fight for a contract to replace the lab agreement was based on an outcry from members, who don’t believe that they should be forced to go 12 years without a raise when Broadway is smashing box office records,” said Brandon Lorenz, National Communications Director for Actors’ Equity Association.
The public #NotALabRat campaign began in November on social media, where Equity members began sharing videos and messages about why no one should still be earning the same weekly salary they were 12 years ago. Click here to learn more and view the campaign’s introductory video.