June 25, 2004
Letter to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
Dear Mayor Bloomberg:
Every New York City resident can take pride in the contribution that Broadway makes to our city’s image and economy. It is a star among the many great institutions that define our city’s cultural life, and it is the primary driver of our city’s tourism industries.
Because of Broadway’s defining role in New York’s identity and the $3 billion it contributes annually to the economy, the members of my union are watching the ongoing Production Contract negotiations between Actors’ Equity and the League of American Theatres and Producers with great concern. This contract, which applies to all Broadway productions and major Broadway tours, expires June 27, 2004.
Equity has taken a firm position in these talks. All Broadway productions that tour must tour under an Equity contract. The Union’s Health Fund must be secured with a surplus sufficient to halt and reverse the terrible attrition in benefits and eligibility than have reached a crisis point. Stages where Equity Actors work must be safe. These issues, job security, health coverage and job safety are by no means Equity’s alone. They are the basic rights of all working Americans and the same guarantees for which this Union will also fight on behalf of its membership.
For too long Broadway producers have been allowed to take credit for the $3 billion that Broadway contributes each to the city’s economy. Tourists do not visit New York in the tens of thousands to see producers. They come to see actors on stage, the work of designers, directors and choreographers, to listen to live music and to thrill to staging that would be impossible without the finest back stage crews in the world. It is labor that keeps Broadway strong.
The members that I lead will not remain silent in the face of a threat to this vital component of our city’s identity or economy, and we urge you to join us in supporting Actors’ Equity in this struggle. If those who perform at the highest level of our nation’s cultural life are unable to sustain adequate health care or a measure of job security then no one is safe. Let’s work to ensure that Broadway and Broadway tours remain shining examples of New York City at its best.
Patricia A. White
John P. Connolly
Joseph Scanapicco, Jr.
Philip J. Jennings