At around 9 AM ET April 13, Actors' Equity Association successfully reached a tentative agreement with The Broadway League for a new and unified touring contract following almost 24 consecutive hours of negotiations. The new agreement, if approved by Equity's membership, would remain in place for three years.
The theatrical union, representing actors and stage managers on professional stages on Broadway and across the country, had authorized a strike that would have halted all union touring performances. Though the agreement still has to be voted on, it would appear the strike has been averted.
Details on the new agreement are not yet available, though the union has told its membership in an email obtained by Playbill that "we made significant gains on our top priorities: per diem and housing, salaries, and coverage. We made gains around equity, diversity and inclusion, paid sick leave for everyone in the Equity company (regardless of their contractual salary) and reproductive care, and we held off the short-term actor [provision] that the Broadway League achieved in the recent Production Contract negotiations."
National tours have been operating on expired agreements, either the Broadway production contract (with the addition of per diems and provided housing) or a separate SETA (short-engagement touring agreement) contract offering lower weekly minimums in exchange for the ability to participate in a piece of ticket sales over the producer's guarantee. That secondary, lower-tier contract had become increasingly popular in recent years, and was the primary pain point for Equity's membership. Though we don't yet know how the new contract, which could still contain production tiers, will handle weekly minimums and other details, the union has succeeded in getting a single touring contract, one of the group's primary goals in negotiations.
For more details on the old touring contracts, click here.
In the coming days, Equity's National Council will review the tentative agreement and vote on whether or not to recommend it to Equity's membership. A full membership vote will follow.