honorHappy L-Day, PPers.

It’s easy to believe the old cliché out there that all Producers are union-hating organizer-busters.  And it’s easy to believe that all card carrying members of any of our theatrical unions hate the Producers that hire them.

And it just ain’t true.

Years and decades and yes, a century ago, some short-sighted Producers took advantage of the hard-working folks that helped build Broadway and the modern theater as we know it today.  And thankfully, those workers got together with their brothers to establish fair wages and working conditions so that both sides could prosper when shows were successful.

And today, on Labor Day, myself, and I’m sure all of my peers, tip our hats to those that work on Broadway . . . whether backstage, in a box office, or in a dressing room wrangling a kid.   

I’m sure you do too.

Cuz it ain’t a hundred years ago, folks.  And there’s just no reason to believe that any union and any Producer are as much at odds as we sometimes like to pretend we are.

We’re in this together.  And if we could throw off the chains of old clichés and remember that, then the next several years, decades, and yes centuries could be even more successful than the ones past . . . for us both.

As a Broadway Producer, and a proud card carrying member of two theatrical unions, let me say thank you to all of the members of our Broadway unions.  You’re the best around, and I wouldn’t want to produce without you.

Happy Labor Day.

 

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4 Responses to Why I celebrate Labor Day.

  1. Yay Ken!

    You bet I agree with you on this one. I more than agree. My college degree is from the Cornell School of Industrial & Labor Relations and I’m a member of AEA & SAG/AFTRA myself. I worked in my dad’s Labor Relations Law firm when I graduated from Cornell. It was founded by my mom’s dad. We represented employers. However these employers knew they needed their workers. Two of our major clients were the NY Hotel Association and the Men’s Clothing Manufacturers. There was only one Local 1 strike I can remember in my childhood and through my 20s and early 30s.

    When I produced, the unions helped me. They need the work and the best working conditions and they knew I understood their needs. You get better performances from actors who aren’t worrying about the way the theater is going to treat them and who know that the stage and the backstage areas are safe. I felt it was my job to keep the employees needs in the eyes for the theater staff. The theater staff needed to feel appreciated too as do the producers. Everyone needs to feel as respected as possible. It’s life.

  2. Pssst… fair wages, not fare wages.

  3. Ken:
    Beautifully stated. The idea truly is that Management and Labor Unions must work together because of the most important sentence in your latest blog: “We’re in this together.” Although I am not directly connected to the theater industry, I have seen 300+ Broadway and Off-Broadway shows since 1964, and am a current member of the Manhattan Theater Club. So from Oliver, Funny Girl (with Barbra Streisand), Fiddler on the Roof (the original) all the way to the Assembled Parties, I truly appreciate the theater, have the playbills for all the shows I’ve seen, and feel very lucky to be able to read your blog everyday. Thank you. Don Levine

  4. Michael Andreas says:

    Ken,

    This is one of my favorite postings from you. All of Theatre has been enhanced by the presence of our unions. Thanks!

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