Updated August 10, 2006
Actors' Equity Files Petition For Election With NLRB On Behalf Of American Girl Place Actors
Update Thursday, August 10, 2006
Actors' Equity has filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on behalf of the Actors at American Girl Place - New York (AGP-NY) for an election to recognize the Union as the bargaining agent for the performers.
Since the start of the year, Equity has made numerous attempts to have AGP-NY voluntarily recognize Equity as the representative of the actors and stage managers. However, the company has rejected the Union's overtures.
Equity also filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge into the NLRB in late July based on the company's retraction of a proposed pay increase due to the Actors' support of the Union's efforts.
On August 3, the Union exercised its right to engage in a Unfair Labor Practice strike and the Actors walked the picket line, with support from AFM Local 802 Musicians, which is contracted by AGP-NY for the performances at the retail store's theater, and Local One Stagehands. Equity ended the two-day strike on August 5 before the Actors were permanently replaced and suffered further financial loss.
Equity believes that an NLRB-supervised election is now the fastest way to achieve union recognition for the Actors at American Girl Place and hopes AGP-NY will not delay the process.
AGP Actors Return to Work
Update Monday, August 7, 2006
Late Friday, on behalf of the Actors at American Girl Place (AGP) store on 5th Avenue, Actors' Equity sent an "Unconditional Offer To Return To Work" to AGP Inc. NYC, stating the Actors and Stage Managers were "prepared and available to return to work" on Saturday and that the Union hopes AGP "will respect the Actors' and Stage Managers' clear wishes and recognize Actors' Equity Association as their collective bargaining representative."
While the Union did not receive official word from the doll company, the Actors and Stage Managers returned to work and the American Girls Revue went on as scheduled. The Bitty Bear performance, scheduled for 10 a.m. on Saturday, was cancelled but the Actors were assured they would be compensated for the missed performance.
The Actors and Stage Managers had gone on strike for two days last week in protest of the Unfair Labor Practices that were going on behind the scenes at AGP. The Union had filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge in late July.
American Girl Place Actors and Actors' Equity Protest Unfair Labor Practices At 5th Avenue Doll Store
Actors who are performing live shows at the American Girl Place store on 5th Avenue and Actors' Equity continued to rally on August 4, to call attention to the Unfair Labor Practices (ULP) that are going on behind the scenes at American Girl Place. The actors, who are not members of Equity, are asking American Girl Place to recognize AEA as the official bargaining representative on their behalf.
Until further notice, AEA and 4As members may not accept employment in any of the revues at American Girl Place.
In the News
AEA and American Girl Place in the news - NY Times, AP, Backstage.com, Daily Variety...
On Tuesday, July 25, AEA filed an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) Charge with the National Labor Relations Board against American Girl Place, Inc. the manufacturer of the popular American Girl Doll. The ULP Charge was prompted when the Company revoked a proposed raise to actors who perform in the American Girl Place Theater in New York City and who are known to support Equity in efforts to unionize the actors.
At a meeting held in June, actors were told that, since they were supporting Equity in its organizing efforts, the pay increase that had been under consideration would not be forthcoming. A representative of the Company also informed the actors that should Equity be recognized, the Employer would no longer be flexible about actors' needs for vocal rest and other working conditions.
American Girl, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mattel and is the direct marketer, publisher, and retailer of American Girl dolls and their complimentary book sets, magazine, clothes, furniture, and accessories. The lines of dolls are sold through the Company's catalogue, website, and three proprietary retail store locations. The 2006 first quarter gross sales for the American Girl Brands business unit were $61.9 million.
Founded in 1913, Actors' Equity Association represents over 45,000 stage Actors and Stage Managers across the country.