Actors’ Equity Association Issues Strike Threat: It’s Time for a Fair Contract

New York -– The National Council of Actors’ Equity Association, the governing body for the union representing 51,000 actors and stage managers working in live entertainment, has authorized Executive Director Al Vincent, Jr., the union’s lead negotiator, to call a strike on all Broadway League tours at a time he deems appropriate.  

“The union has been at the table bargaining with The Broadway League on the contract that governs all Broadway national tours since January,” said Vincent. “After two months of slow but forward motion between the parties, we still don’t have a contract that meets our members’ basic needs. We have let the League know in no uncertain terms that the cost of doing business does not justify inadequate per diem and housing for our members on tour. I am glad that we were able to add two days of bargaining – April 11 and 12 – and I hope we can reach an agreement that averts a strike.” 

“Our goal is to get a fair deal for our members, who have been working on an expired contract since February 5,” said Actors’ Equity Association President Kate Shindle. “No one wants to disrupt the work of bringing theatre to audiences across the country, but we are prepared to strike Broadway League producers if we are not able to reach a fair agreement. If the producers don’t return to the table with good faith responses to our proposals addressing the hardships our members face on the road and the information they are required to share, that strike will happen.” 

While every contract negotiation is important, this round may be more fraught than usual, not only coming after the unprecedented COVID-19 shutdown of the industry, but also after a 2019 agreement between the parties to create a new touring agreement that would replace and unify several previous agreements into one new contract. 

Despite beginning with a shared desire to streamline work rules and simplify the administration of touring shows, for the benefit of workers and employers alike, The Broadway League has not yet made acceptable proposals and has refused to provide information they are required to give Equity in the bargaining process.   

Equity stage managers and actors on tours have made it clear that a contract that does not meet the needs of touring artists in today’s economy will not pass. They are seeking fair pay, appropriate housing and per diem and sufficient coverage to ensure that the show can go on when individuals cannot. 

Nearly 90% of Equity stage managers and actors currently on tour have signed a strike pledge. The pledge reads: 

We deserve a contract that respects the value of our labor, recognizes our creative contributions, and appropriately addresses the realities of the touring landscape in 2023 and beyond. I pledge to stand with my colleagues on tour in demanding a fair contract, negotiated in good faith. 
If my union calls for a strike to protest the Broadway League’s unacceptable offer, I will join my fellow union members to walk off the job. I am ready and willing to do whatever it takes to get the contract we need.

Supporters may see Equity members and allies popping up around the country to leaflet and engage with audiences over the coming days and weeks. Concerned audience members and fellow workers who would like to support Equity in reaching a fair deal and averting a strike can visit for more information. 

ACTORS' EQUITY ASSOCIATION, founded in 1913, is the U.S. labor union that represents more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers. Equity endeavors to advance the careers of its members by negotiating wages, improving working conditions and providing a wide range of benefits (health and pension included). Member: AFL-CIO, FIA. #EquityWorks   

April 3, 2023