The last six years have seen dynamic shifts in the gains Equity has been able to make and the way in which they organize to meet their goals. In 2019, for the first time in fifty years, Equity went on strike—theatre workers walked off the job and demanded profit participation in Broadway development projects. In 2016, major wage increases were won from off-Broadway producers through the #fairwageonstage movement. Bottom-up, rank-and-file internal organizing has been on the rise inside the union, which, prior to 2017 didn’t even have an organizing department. Pre-pandemic, Equity had been stretching their organizing muscles, and now post-vaccine, they appear on the verge of doing so again. Three major contracts—for touring, production, and the League of Resident Theatres—will be renegotiated in 2022. Serious contract campaigns are anticipated. Probably in anticipation of those campaigns, Equity has created the role of Mobilization Director, which has been filled by longtime labor organizer, Stefanie Frey.
Frey, an Equity stage manager, has been at the heart of many of the major actions and contract gains the union has been able to make in the last six years. She takes on this new role just as theatre experiences a post-vaccine surge back to life, and rank-and-file unionism, nationally, takes center stage in the many strikes and union actions taking place across the country.