Actors’ Equity has barred its members from participating in any developmental work on new shows with the Broadway League.
The strike comes as Equity has been negotiating for profit-sharing, which would give actors who participate in the developmental process of a show a percentage of future profits, with the Broadway League as part of an updated lab agreement. The negotiations over the lab agreement began about two years ago.
Equity members are being told not to participate in any new projects involving a lab agreement, as well as any workshop agreement, staged reading contract and stage reading guidelines used in a project produced by members of the Broadway League. All have been placed on Equity’s “Do Not Work” list.
“An unprecedented number of Equity members have already volunteered to support our campaign for a better Lab agreement,” Mary McColl, executive director of Actors’ Equity, said in the press release. “We will continue our fight to make sure that Equity members can share in the success when a show becomes a hit and recoups.”
In turn, the Broadway League issued a statement saying it plans to continue speaking with Equity and has “additional proposals” to discuss.
“The Broadway League has been negotiating in good faith over multiple sessions and there are additional proposals to make. We look forward to continuing our respectful dialogue with the union and are confident that we will reach a fair agreement that will be beneficial to both sides,” the statement reads.
Upcoming Equity labs include “Heart of Rock and Roll,” “Almost Famous” and “August Rush.”
Equity began an online campaign for profit sharing in November, which they say has since resulted in more than 2,000 Equity members signing commitment cards in support of the campaign.
As part of the negotiations, Equity members have also asked for higher weekly salaries, as the rates are unchanged since the agreement’s creation 12 years ago.
The strike was authorized by Equity’s National Council.
One in four Broadway shows have used a lab agreement before coming to Broadway, according to Equity. Recently, individual shows such as “Frozen” and “Mean Girls” have participated in profit sharing, with “Hamilton” and “The Book of Mormon” setting past precedent.