You all remember my infamous bet from last fall when I incorrectly predicted that the Producers and the Stagehands “would be friends”.
Well, let’s get ready to rumble!
The Actors’ Equity Production (Broadway) Contract expires at the end of June. While emotions are still high from the fall fireworks, there will be no strike.
Why not? I don’t see an issue that could escalate to that kind of action. Even if there isn’t agreement right away on raises, the hiring of aliens from overseas, etc., I’m sure talks will continue until they hammer out a deal. There may be a few threats (and expect Local 1 to express their unwavering support), but the marquees will stay lit.
Who wants a piece of this action? 2:1 odds in your favor.
One issue both sides should discuss? Health insurance. There will no doubt be an increase to the already high weekly cost of a producer’s required weekly contribution to the co-administered League-Equity health fund – currently $153/week or $612/month or $7,956/year per actor!
It would be cheaper for the Producer to purchase their own insurance just like any other new company, and cover each actor from day 1 of employment, rather than make the actor qualify for insurance (the current plan requires that an actor work for 12 weeks to earn only 6 months of coverage, and 20 weeks for a full year).
Actors would get their insurance faster and producers would save money.
I realize that this idea is in exact opposition to the idea of union provided benefits.
But sometimes, when you’re lost, you have to think about turning around and going the opposite direction to get you back on track again.