broadway-labor-day-foundation

There’s no labor in Broadway. But there’s no Broadway without it.

To most people in the US, Labor Day means one thing.  A day off. It’s a day of BBQs that signal the end of summer, back to school, and no more summer Fridays. When I first entered the Broadway work force, Labor Day meant another thing:  Holiday Pay (As an ATPAM member, we got a little extra in our paycheck on certain holidays – the theory being that unlike the regular work force, we didn’t get a long weekend – since the Broadway eight show a week schedule remains the same no matter what week it is). But Labor Day isn’t …

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We should walk in each other’s shoes.

The industry has a lot of big negotiations coming up in the next year or two, including Local 1 (stagehands) and 802 (musicians).  We’ve had a tough last decade, with both of those unions going on strike after impasse was reached.  And when someone goes on strike, guess who wins?  Nobody.  Guess who loses?  Everybody, especially our audience. So, as chatter starts up about the upcoming sit-downs, I started thinking about ways we could make the talks go smoother.  And the first idea to pop in my head was to . . . well . . . trade jobs for …

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What can Broadway learn from the NBA lockout?

If you’re a basketball fan, you’ve been foaming at the mouth and ornery to everyone you know for the past couple o’ months, as you’ve suffered through B-Ball withdrawal thanks to the lockout. Fear not, however, slam dunks and double-dribbles will return on Christmas day as a present to you all, now that a new 10 year agreement has been reached. First class labor disputes in sports always catch my eye, because of the major similarity between the two sides of their negotiating table and the two sides of Broadway’s table: Most of the owners of professional sports teams made …

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The incongruity of our contracts.

For those of you reading my Godspell Blog, you know that I’m in the midst of teching Godspell.  Techs for Broadway shows can be some of the most expensive and time consuming events leading up to a show’s first performance.  A big musical can easily spend more than $1mm in labor alone just getting the set in the door and up on its feet. But that’s not what this blog is about. As I have watched yet another tech, I couldn’t help but notice how our own industry has established a system that is counterintuitive to delivering the best product. …

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And the winner of this negotiation is . . .

A lot of folks out there on both sides of the bargaining table think that negotiating an actor deal or an artist deal is the same as buying a house or a car or a fake rolex on Canal Street.  You try to "win" the negotiation by getting the best deal you can, and then you're done. But negotiating contracts in the entertainment industry, especially in theater, is different.  Remember, the people (and yes they are people, not "parties") involved in these deals have to work together day in and day out for a long time.  Everyone on both sides …

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