Equity Tells Membership to Show Up for Work on Wednesday; Council Mulls Next Move

News   Equity Tells Membership to Show Up for Work on Wednesday; Council Mulls Next Move
 
The Equity Council, the governing body of Actors' Equity Association, determined that Broadway actors and stage managers in its membership "will report to the theatres on Wednesday for both performances and will continue to do so until further notice," according to an announcement the evening of June 29.
The logos of Actors' Equity Association and the League of American Theatres and Producers.
The logos of Actors' Equity Association and the League of American Theatres and Producers.

As of the 7:30 PM announcement, "the council continues to meet" toward determining its next step — whether to strike or return to negotiations. A further announcement is not expected June 29, an Equity source told Playbill On-Line.

The AEA governing council began meeting Tuesday afternoon to discuss the stalled negotiations between the union and the League of American Theatres and Producers. Negotiations toward forging a fresh Production Contract ended Sunday night, June 27. Each side said the other walked out of talks.

A spokesperson for Equity confirmed at 2:30 PM (ET) Tuesday that Broadway and touring shows (which are also affected) would indeed play Tuesday evening.

A spokesperson for the League responded, "We are pleased they are going to continue to perform but it's also imperative that we get back to performing at the bargaining table, where there is work to be done."

Earlier Tuesday, the League rep said the ball is in Equity's court: "We're very eager to get back to the table." *

The major points of the new Production Contract between actors and stage managers and the producers of Broadway and touring shows are health-care issues and non-union tours. The Production Contract is used for most Broadway and touring Equity shows.

Among other things, Equity wants a promise that touring spinoffs of Broadway shows will be union productions. Recent stagings of The Music Man and Oklahoma! were non-Equity affairs.

Both sides of the table have kept mum about the details of negotiations since talks began.

A strike would shut down almost every Equity tour (there are 11 on the road) and most Broadway shows except those operating under a separate agreement between Actors' Equity Association and the League of Resident Theatres (LORT) — The Frogs at Lincoln Center Theater, Sight Unseen at Manhattan Theatre Club's Biltmore Theatre and Roundabout Theatre Company's Assassins and After the Fall.

The contract between Equity and the League expired midnight Sunday, June 27, but the few Broadway shows that perform Monday nights did play June 28. The union and the League will continue operating under the previous contract until there is either a work stoppage or a new contract.

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