If the League – the trade organization representing theater owners and producers – does not recognize the request, the PAs will likely “overwhelmingly vote to unionize,” Equity said.
“We are thrilled to support the effort of Broadway’s production assistants to complete the unionization of Broadway’s stage management teams,” said Erin Maureen Koster, 3rd vice president of Actors’ Equity Association, who represents the union’s stage manager members, “and we look forward to achieving the fair and meaningful contract they have long deserved.”
Actors’ Equity is the national labor union representing more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers in live theatre.
In a statement provided to Deadline, the League confirmed the request for recognition from Equity and has told the union the League looks “forward to discussing it further with them.”
“The Broadway League and our members support the right of employees to lawfully choose a bargaining representative,” the League statement said.
PAs, the union says, are hourly employees who work as part of stage management teams “from pre-production through opening night, doing everything from preparing rehearsal materials to ensuring decisions made during rehearsals are recorded to being extra sets of hands and eyes during complicated technical rehearsals to efficiently running errands that keep the rehearsal productive.”
Many PAs, the union continues in the announcement, are early-career stage managers, and PAs “are among the only Broadway workers without current union representation.” The new bargaining unit includes both current PAs working on about ten productions as well as about 100 who have worked on Broadway the last two years.
If unionization would cover PAs who work as part of stage management teams on Broadway and sit-down productions produced by members of The Broadway League.
“Getting a Broadway production up and running is an enormous task,” said Koster, “and the work of Broadway’s stage management teams prior to opening night is fundamental to any show’s success. “Every one of these workers, whether their title is production stage manager, stage manager, assistant stage manager or production assistant, is a skilled professional and essential to the team. And yet, production assistants have stood alone for too long as the only members of these teams without the basic protections of union contracts – without safe and sanitary workplace requirements, without protections against harassment and discrimination, without living wages, without health and pension benefits.”