November 26, 2002
|Equity Challenges MUSIC MAN-NLRB Election, Citing Big League's "Intimidating" Tactics|
Eisenberg "Disappointed" - Boycott to Continue
Actors' Equity has challenged the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)-ordered union election for THE MUSIC MAN, after the company voted against union representation (28 to 8) in New Orleans on November 1, 2002. The controversial, non-Equity tour is being produced by Big League Theatricals, an unabashedly anti-Equity theatrical producer.
Equity's Executive Director, Alan Eisenberg, said he was "disappointed, but not completely surprised" by the outcome and said that the Union will fight for the "courageous minority" that voted for representation "despite the intimidating and illegal tactics used by Big League to sway the actors' votes."
Equity's Central Regional Director, Kathryn V. Lamkey, and Equity's National Director of Organizing, Flora Stamatiades, traveled to Louisiana to monitor the election. "Given the ongoing, active campaigning against Equity, we wish to commend those performers who did come forward and ask for representation," they said.
Equity cites a number of objections in the challenge, including "threatening employees with discharge because of their union and other concerted protected activities;" holding a party during the critical pre-election period to influence employee votes with a vote-no campaign; and "advising cast members the day prior to the election that, in essence, the show would be forced to close if the Union won the election."
Prior to the election, Equity also filed several Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges against Big League, which are still on appeal.
Last May, Equity filed a petition for representation with the Board after a substantial majority of the cast signed authorization cards requesting Equity as their bargaining representative. After the election was ordered, Big League filed an appeal and succeeded in delaying the process until new cast members joined the tour following a short hiatus. The show reopened on October 11th in Fayetteville and was playing at the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans during the election.
"Equity will continue the national boycott," concluded Eisenberg.