Covid Protocols, Diversity Initiatives & Significant Pay Raises

The Actors’ Equity Association and the Off-Broadway League have agreed on a three-year contract. This includes a number of interesting clauses, which are very much a reflection of current realities.

For instance, there are raises in the minimum salaries. Those at not-for-profit Off-Broadway theaters will be seeing a 5 percent increase right away. However, there will be a 16 percent increase over the course of the three years. Meanwhile, those at for-profit Off-Broadway theaters will be seeing a wider range of changes. For example, the lowest salaried categories will be seeing a total increase of 16 percent over the course of the agreement. In contrast, the highest salaried category will be seeing a total increase of up to 12.6 percent over the same period.

On a related note, the agreement includes a limit on proration cuts in salary if performances wind up being reduced because of the COVID-19 crisis. Something that remains a serious concern. Naturally, there are also clauses about how the spread of said disease can be minimized while still keeping the relevant operations running. After all, theaters are places where people are placed in close proximity of one another, so it makes sense for involved individuals to be concerned about protecting themselves as well as their patrons. This is particularly true because the latter is bound to factor such things into their own calculations, meaning that COVID-19 protocols could have a huge effect on the Off-Broadway theaters’ ability to get people into their seats.

Besides this, a lot of people will be most interested in the clauses about the recruitment of employees as well as the treatment of employees. After all, these have been huge issues in recent times, so it stands to reason that the agreement would address them to at least some extent. For starters, interested individuals should know that there is a commitment to remove gender binary-based distinctions in the auditioning, hiring, rehearsal, and production processes wherever possible, which is a considerable step in this regard. Furthermore, the agreement comes with updated definitions for bullying, sexual harassment, as well as both sex-based and race-based discrimination. All of which are coming with an extension to the window of time in which people can report such incidents. Besides these changes, there are also updates to the language used for the policies and practices about diverse and inclusive casting. Combined, these changes suggest that the people behind the agreement have been paying attention to the discussions on these topics in recent times.

Of course, there are also other changes as well. For example, there is the encouragement of a five-day rehearsal workweek. Similarly, there is the creation of additional payments for people who are working 10-out-of-12s. These have been huge concerns as well because of how punishing they are on people. Something that has a very direct and very noticeable effect on their awareness and their adaptability, thus increasing the chances of a serious issue happening on the stage. Unsurprisingly, this translates into a direct decrease in quality of life, particularly since 10-out-12 doesn’t necessarily mean a 12-hour day but can be even longer. Moreover, it is worth mentioning that such schedules hit certain segments harder than others. For example, they force harsh choices on parents as well as other caregivers. Similarly, they have a nastier impact on people who lack either family support or the backup of built-in networks. Besides these, there are also steps to encourage more flexible work schedules, which are tangled up in a lot of the same concerns.

Summed up, the new agreement between the Actors’ Equity Association and the Off-Broadway League contains a lot of changes that are bound to have an impact on the people involved in the relevant theaters. As such, it might be a good idea for interested individuals to look further into it so that they can get a better understanding of the specifics.


About David Milberg

David Milberg is an experienced financial analyst and entrepreneur from New York City. Milberg is a proud father of three kids. Milberg graduated from Princeton University with a BA in History and graduated from Columbia University with an MBA. David currently serves as a Senior Vice President at Milberg Factors, Inc.

Over his tenure at Milberg Factors, David has also been involved in numerous not-for-profit activities. In light of David’s charitable work, he was honored in the year 2000 by the accountants and bankers division of Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York and by the Metropolitan Jewish Geriatric Foundation. David Milberg has also been active in the Lincoln Center Business Council.

David Milberg has invested in such major broadway productions as Mel Brook’s The Producers, The Weir, and the hit revival of Pippin directed by Diane Paulus and starring Tony Award Winner Patina Miller at the Leading Player. David sits on the Board of Trustees for The Prospect Theater Company and is a fervent supporter of the Lincoln Center Theater. David Milberg presently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Princeton Triangle Club, where he was Vice-Chairman.

David Milberg has a rich, varied background in musical theater and live stage performance.

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