Actors' Equity membership, which includes Broadway actors and stage managers, has ratified the new production contract that was tentatively agreed to by the union and The Broadway League December 1. Voting on the measure closed December 18.
According to an email sent to Equity members obtained by Playbill, the measure passed with 57% of those voting in approval. This year's voting bloc numbered 1,161, just 42% of the 2,748 eligible to vote on the agreement. Of those votes, 659 were in favor and 502 opposed.
The new agreement, which will remain in effect for three years, includes pay raises, increased time off, and a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, according to a copy of Equity's summary of changes obtained by Playbill.
The contract will set actors' minimum weekly salaries on Broadway at $2,323, a figure that will be retroactively applied back to September 26 of this year. According to the agreement, actors can expect automatic raises each year of the agreement, bringing that minimum to $2,638 by 2024. Actors will also see increases to increments received when playing chorus parts, understudying chorus parts or specialties, understudying principal roles, being a partial swing, or serving as fight captain, ranging from 7–30% additional.
"We went into this negotiation with an ambitious package reflecting the priorities of actors and stage managers working this contract," says AEA President and Broadway alum Kate Shindle in a statement. "While we certainly didn't achieve all of them, we did make progress: fewer 10/12s, fewer rehearsal hours after opening, significant EDI advances, paid sick leave for the entire Equity company, more stage manager preproduction, increases in some chorus increments, and our highest overall salary gains in decades."
But Shindle says there are issues that still need further work. “For example, while we achieved our first-ever cap on split tracks for swings, five is still too many." According to the Fun Home and Legally Blonde star, that work will depend on Equity's membership. "I hope our members will stay engaged, especially if they are asked to do anything that makes them feel unsafe. We are now prepping for bargaining both Touring and LORT[-level contracts], which have significant worker overlap with Production. The voices of mobilized actors and stage managers clearly made this a better deal than it otherwise would have been. That same activism and solidarity will also be crucial for these upcoming negotiations."
"The Broadway League is the largest group of employers for Equity members, and coming to our first agreement after the pandemic shutdown and subsequent reopening is a major step,” adds Equity Executive DIrector Al Vincent, who also served as lead negotiator for this contract. "This was not an easy negotiation, and over 21 bargaining sessions everyone on both sides of the table had to make difficult choices. I am proud of the work the Equity team did to achieve a contract that makes significant strides on a number of issues that have been on our agenda for decades. And this agreement also lays important foundations that we will build on in negotiations to come.”