We have a lot of contracts at Equity, and each one is unique. Some of them are promulgated, which means they're created internally and we offer them for use by employers. Some are individually negotiated with a single producer, seeking to create the best possible contractual instrument for our members working at a specific institution. And then some of them - many of our largest and most profitable agreements - are collectively bargained, meaning that we sit across the table from a group of employers who are seeking the best possible deal for themselves.
It is in collective bargaining that we have the most to gain, the most to lose, and where we tend to leave too much on the table.
One of the most important takeaways of the #FairWageOnstage campaign Off-Broadway was that when the membership is informed, organized, and activated around a negotiation, it gives us tremendous leverage. The stage managers and actors working Off-Broadway were in lockstep throughout the process because they'd been invited in. We empowered them by letting them know what we were fighting for, and giving them something to be proud of, and our employers knew it. It's no small part of why we were able to achieve those historic gains. That's the power of internal organizing.
Now, not every collectively bargained agreement requires the same correction that we saw Off-Broadway. LORT is different from SETA, which is different from CAT, which is different from WCLO. But there are still systemic unfairnesses that exist within each of our major contracts with employer groups (not to mention the need for continued salary increases and increases in required contracts), and Equity members in every market across the country deserve to have the same level of buy-in, commitment, and internal organization from their union and their fellow members when it comes time to sit down at the table with employers.
As Eastern Regional Vice President, I will continue to encourage and empower Equity's leadership to galvanize and organize our members around EVERY contract negotiation.
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