IATSE and The Broadway League have revealed in a joint statement that a tentative agreement has been reached between the League (and Disney Theatrical) and the backstage union on the latter's Pink Contract. Details of the agreement will be released to IATSE members in the coming days, after which union members will vote on ratifying the new contract. The 11th-hour deal will prevent a Broadway and national tour strike that could have begun July 21. If IATSE members vote to reject the new contract, a strike could become possible again. Dates for the vote have not been announced.
The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) had called a strike authorization vote following protracted, unsuccessful negotiations with The Broadway League and Disney Theatrical, collectively representing Broadway and national tour producers. A successful vote would have resulted in a strike being called Friday morning, immediately shutting down most Broadway and national tour productions.
In dispute was an expired IATSE Pink Contract, on which 1,500 union members are employed, including stagehands, hair and make-up artists, wardrobe personnel, and others employed directly by productions. Twenty-eight of the 30 currently-running Broadway productions and 17 national tours employ workers on the Pink Contract and would have been shut down by a strike.
The union had been closing in on a tentative new contract in 2020 shortly before COVID-19 shut down live theatre worldwide. When theatre returned more than a year later, this contract was extended through July 2, 2023, a date that has since been further extended while productive negotiations continued.
Details about this most recent tentative agreement are not yet available, though IATSE representatives revealed July 19 that they had previously secured tentative agreements to protect healthcare without cuts or increased out-of-pocket costs along with the first-ever contractual obligation for employer-provided housing for touring crews. Remaining grievances from the union, as of July 20, included salary increases and weekly and daily rest periods for IATSE members.
IATSE's strike threat comes as much of the entertainment world is at war with producers working across several mediums. Film and TV unions SAG-AFTRA (representing actors) and the Writers Guild of America (representing screen writers) are both currently on strike, which has quite nearly shut down all TV and film production in Hollywood and beyond, including the forthcoming two-part screen adaptation of Broadway's Wicked. Theatrical unions have, so far, not been driven to strike. Actors' Equity Association, which represents actors and stage managers on Broadway and Broadway League-represented national tours, approved a new Broadway contract in December 2022 that will remain in effect for three years. IATSE also recently reached a new agreement for national tours not represented by The Broadway League, commonly referred to as non-union tours (the productions may use IATSE union members, but generally do not cast AEA members in the performing company).
The last IATSE strike, which was the first in the union's history, was in 2007. It lasted 19 days.