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Broadway Could Soon Join Nationwide Strike Wave

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Broadway strike

The Hollywood industry is currently at a standstill due to the unprecedented strikes led by the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA), and now, the Broadway lights may also go dark. The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) is reportedly voting on strike authorization this Wednesday and Thursday. If the decision is to strike, picketing could potentially kick off as soon as Friday, as per The Hollywood Reporter.

The situation unfolded after discussions began on May 25 concerning the preceding contract which spanned from July 1, 2019, to July 2, 2023. The union has been operating under the terms of the old contract for nearly 20 days. However, with negotiations with the Broadway League and Disney Theatrical Productions stagnating, IATSE is ready to take decisive action, including potential picketing.

Although the ultimate decision lies with the IATSE President, a ‘yes’ vote for a strike by at least 75 percent of the union would provide a powerful leverage in their pursuit for justice. The union comprises around 1,500 workers including stagehands, hair and make-up artists, and wardrobe staff, representing 45 theatrical shows – 28 on Broadway and 17 touring. These unionized workers are engaged from the outset of out-of-town rehearsals right through to the opening night in New York City or for the duration of the tour.

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What Does the IATSE Want?

IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb clarified that the union is vying for “wages, benefits, and rights,” echoing the demands of WGA and SAG-AFTRA. Unlike these two unions, IATSE has seen some progress with agreements concerning employer-sponsored healthcare, guaranteeing that no cuts would be made and that out-of-pocket costs wouldn’t increase. Another high-priority demand is that the productions cover the accommodation costs for touring crews, a condition surprisingly not yet in place. Also on the negotiation list are issues of wages and ensuring crew members get adequate daily and weekly rest to prevent burnout and overwork.

This potential IATSE strike follows just a few months after the Actors’ Equity’s strike authorization vote on their touring contract with Broadway League. Providing hope for the IATSE, Actors’ Equity successfully negotiated a new contract in April. Given the widespread strikes in the entertainment sector and the looming UPS strike, it remains to be seen how this wave of industrial action impacts the wider fight for workers’ rights in the United States. Have a look at some clips from the UPS/WGA event earlier today:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Broadway strike

What is the potential impact of the Broadway strike?

If the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) proceeds with the strike, the lights of Broadway may go out. Picketing could begin as soon as Friday, affecting approximately 45 theatrical shows, including 28 on Broadway and 17 on tour. The strike would involve around 1,500 workers, such as stagehands, hair and make-up artists, and wardrobe personnel.

What are the key demands of IATSE in the negotiations?

IATSE is fighting for fair wages, benefits, and rights, similar to the demands of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA). Their negotiations involve baseline agreements on employer-provided healthcare, housing for touring crews, wages, and ensuring crew members have sufficient rest to avoid burnout and overwork.

How does the potential Broadway strike relate to other recent strikes in the entertainment industry?

The potential Broadway strike follows a similar strike authorization vote by Actors’ Equity for their touring contract with Broadway League. However, Actors’ Equity was able to reach an agreement and establish a new contract in April. The broader context includes strikes in the entertainment sector and the upcoming UPS strike, indicating a growing movement for workers’ rights across various industries.

More about Broadway strike

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BroadwayFan92 July 20, 2023 - 4:10 am

oMG!! So the Broadway could go on strike!!?? That would be crayz!! Picketing starting frday!! Hope they get fare wages and benfits!! #SupportBroadwayWorkers

TheaterLover33 July 20, 2023 - 11:39 am

I can’t believe IATSE might go on strik!! Those stagehands and makeup artists are so talented, they deserve bettr! Hope they work it out soon. #FairPayForBroadway

DramaQueen27 July 20, 2023 - 3:49 pm

Lights out on Broadway? That’s a disasstr! We need to show support for IATSE and their demandS for fair treatment. Let’s hope they find a solution before the curtains closE. #SaveBroadway

MovieBuff101 July 20, 2023 - 6:09 pm

I had no idea the entertainment industry was in such turmoiL! Strikes everywhere, UPS too? This is a wakeup call for workers’ rightS. Solidarity with IATSE and other unions fighting for fairness. #WorkersUnite


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