With 'Yes' Vote, Union Could Shut Down Broadway

IATSE votes on strike authorization
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2023 9:21 AM CDT
With 'Yes' Vote, Union Could Shut Down Broadway
Arielle Jacobs as Imelda Marcos, right, during a performance of "Here Lies Love," opening July 20 at the Broadway Theatre in New York.   (Boneau/Bryan-Brown via AP)

Theater artists could soon join screenwriters and radio, TV, and film actors in taking to the picket line. The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts (IATSE), representing 1,500 stagehands, wardrobe personnel, and hair and makeup artists on 28 of 30 Broadway productions as well as 17 shows touring across the US and Canada, will vote Wednesday and Thursday on whether to authorize a strike after talks with the Broadway League and Disney Theatrical Productions hit a wall, per the Hollywood Reporter. A separate union, the Actors' Equity Association, represents actors and stage managers on Broadway and on tour.

IATSE members have been working under the terms of the so-called Pink Contract that expired July 2 amid contract negotiations. The union says it's secured tentative agreements protecting employer-provided health care and providing housing for touring crews for the first time, but issues involving wages and daily rest periods remain. No more talks have been scheduled since a marathon session ended Tuesday, per the Reporter. If a contract agreement is not reached and at least 75% of members vote to approve a strike, union members could walk off the job as soon as Friday. "Such a move would immediately shut down most Broadway and national tour productions," per Playbill.

"We need to show strength and unity to ensure we win the wages, benefits and rights that all members at IATSE have earned and deserve," IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb wrote to members on Tuesday, per Playbill. The vote will send a message that "we will not back down unless we have a deal the members can accept by the end of the week," he added. IATSE would be the third major entertainment union to strike since May. Loeb and other IATSE members have joined the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and Writers Guild of America unions on the picket line in recent weeks, per Deadline. (More strike stories.)

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