A group of actors and stage directors employed by a single “Waitress” music group seeking corporate representation, strengthened by the growing interest in the theater business and the recent success of the industry in other industries.
The Actors Equity Association, which represents 51,000 athletes and sports managers, has received signatures from more than 30 percent of staff members required to run for office, and on Tuesday submitted an election manifesto to the National Labor Relations Board. , which drives such elections.
The number of people affected is small – there are 22 actors and stage directors involved in the tour, according to Equity – but this move is significant because it is the first time Equity has tried to mend a non-conventional tour since it failed miserably two decades ago. to co-produce “The Music Man”. (The agreement also sought to ban the production.)
Officials at the agency said the “Waitress” tour is a clear place to prepare for the campaign because of the clear comparisons: There are currently two music companies, one represented by the union and one not. Workers on unpaid travel are paid about one-third of what workers in a union company do, and have less security, Equity said. (The minimum acting fee is $ 2,244 per week.)
“We thought it was inappropriate and inappropriate, so we asked them to see if they wanted us to represent them,” said Stefanie Frey, director of the organization for planning and mobilization. Frey said the production was so similar that some of the non-athletes were asked to train athletes, and that some had gone from uncoordinated production to co-op. He said: “It is a common group of people who are being exploited.
Jennifer Ardizzone-West, head of operations at Networks Presentations, the company that conducts the anonymous “Waitress” tour, declined to comment immediately, saying, “Until we see what happened, before I can answer.”
Travel is an important, as well as rewarding, part of Broadway’s financial sector. During the 2018-19 season – the last season before the epidemic – joint ventures raised $ 1.6 billion and reached 18.5 million people, according to the Broadway League. Similar figures are not readily available on non-traditional travels, but Frey said, “The host country has grown in the last 15 years.”
Equity is in the process of recruiting two additional developers as it seeks to expand its efforts, according to a spokesman for the organization, David Levy, who has seen recent efforts to recruit more employees at REI, Starbucks and Amazon. The National Labor Relations Board said last week that the number of complaints about corporate elections was rising sharply.
Frey said the long-term suspension of the theater has also fueled new interest in theater. “The staff feels a little out of place and wants to fight for what they have to do in a different way,” he said.