the new off-broadway agreement
The first #FairWage campaign and the Off-Broadway Contract negotiations changed the way I thought about what was possible for Actors' Equity.
For years, it was accepted as a given that it wasn't realistic for stage managers and actors to expect to make a living wage working Off-Broadway. Equity's negotiations with the Off-Broadway League and with the Association of Non-Profit Theatre Companies (ANTC) had resulted in minimal gains for many cycles, leaving some of our most accomplished members struggling to make ends meet. As one member said, "Who knew that success could be such a liability?"
But the founders of #FairWage weren't willing to accept that. They saw money being spent on sets, and costumes, and facilities, and administrators, all while hearing that "There simply isn't enough money to pay the stage managers and actors." They marched into Equity and made their case, and convinced the union's staff and leadership to go into the next round of negotiations and to ASK FOR MORE.
I was honored to be asked to join the initial "Off-Broadway Action Group", helping to coordinate the grassroots ground game that worked to galvanize and energize and organize our members around these negotiations. When asked to take a stand, our members were more than up to the task, and their bravery and fortitude resulted in some of the greatest gains the union's ever seen in negotiations.
The #FairWage model proved that asking for more can work, especially when our members are informed, energized, and mobilized. As Eastern Regional Vice President, I have and will continue to work to ensure that future negotiations with our employers heed that example, ensuring that our members get what they deserve.