The theatre industry has shown tremendous support over the last week for Actor’s Equity strike that began this past Monday. Multiple unions have voiced their support for the strike even though many are not able to be directly involved in sister strikes. Actors Equity declared the strike against the current lab process on Broadway.
Labs are used amongst producers and other Broadway producers in order to help with the creation process of new shows. One in four new shows use the labs in before opening, and since 2016 the process has been used 75 times with almost half those shows going on to further production.
Weekly salaries on lab agreements have been frozen since 2007. Equity wants actors participating in these developmental labs to have a share in the profits of subsequent hit shows. A few different shows on Broadway have already implemented this process including Frozen, Mean Girls, and even Hamilton. Even though multiple shows and producers already practice this, the Broadway League has yet to agree on adding the measure to new contracts.
Equity members who accept a contract for any lab work with the Broadway league will face repercussions and punishment from the union. This as of today has been expanded to include anyone who is a Equity Eligible candidate. Posing the threat of never being able to join the union to those who are not full Equity members but eligible to join with the EMC program.
This has caused a mixed reaction due to the fact that these actors are not fully covered by Equity and do not receive many of the benefits a union member would. Amongst this group many believed it to be a chance for better exposure to labs and contracts while the strike went on.
The strike is currently in its fifth day and so far no agreements have been reached. The League and Actor’s Equity are still in talks over contracts, and until an agreement comes about with labs offering actors the chance for later share in the profits the strike will continue.