Notice to EMCs: Strikebreakers Will Be Denied Membership in Actors’ Equity

Following the announcement this week that Equity’s National Council has authorized a strike against the Broadway League for all Development work, Actors’ Equity Association is advising all non-union actors and stage managers that they will be prohibited from joining the union in the future if they agree to take work that is subject to Equity’s strike.

The strike, announced Monday, applies to the Lab Contract, Workshop Agreement and Staged Reading Contract and Staged Reading Guidelines with the Broadway League producers listed on Equity’s DO NOT WORK LIST.

“When we launched our public fight for a replacement for the Lab Agreement, we focused on bringing Equity members together. Now we are expanding that campaign by taking it to more than 13,000 Equity Membership Candidates across the country,” said Brandon Lorenz, National Communications Director for Actors’ Equity Association.

The actors and stage managers who are part of the Equity Membership Candidate (EMC) program were advised today that – following a vote of Equity’s National Council – non-members who take developmental work with the Broadway League during the strike will lose their eligibility to join Equity permanently.  

Non-members are also welcome to reach out to NotALabRat@ActorsEquity.org with any questions regarding whether a project they've been offered would break the strike.

Equity has spent nearly two years trying to negotiate a replacement for the Lab Agreement with the Broadway League. Recent headlines show that 2018 was Broadway’s highest-grossing year ever. And yet, the Equity members who go to work developing new work for Broadway on Lab Agreements have gone 12 years without a raise.

Some Broadway shows – such as Frozen and Mean Girls – already offer to share profits with Equity members who worked to bring their productions to life during development on the Lab Agreement. The Broadway League has nevertheless refused to agree to profit sharing as part of the new contract.

Equity’s Lab Agreement is a key part of how commercial theatre productions – mostly musicals – are developed. One in four Broadway shows have used a Lab Agreement before opening on Broadway. The Lab Agreement has been used 75 times since 2016. 51 percent of those Labs went on to further production.