November 15, 2016
By Leonard Golubchck, LaborPress Entertainment Editor
New York, NY – Actors Equity Association is currently negotiating a new agreement with Off-Broadway theater owners. The current contract expired on November 6, 2016. The pay increase that is being negotiated is for actors and stage managers are to enable this class of union members to obtain a living wage.
An Off-Broadway theater is defined as having a seating capacity from 100-499. Members of AEA are paid based upon the size of the theater. Pay currently is $1,057 a week at the maximum level with a theater capacity ranging from 351-499 seats while theaters with a capacity of 100-199 seats pay actors and stage managers minimally and they are paid $593 a week. Meanwhile some non-profit theaters pay their actors and stage manages as little as $361 a week which is governed under a separate contract.
A campaign launched by members of AEA #FairWageOnStage is emphasizing the need for a fair and equitable contract through personal stories as to the financial hardships our fellow brothers and sisters are confronted with through wages which is less than a living wage.
Over a 1,000 Actors Equality Association member have signed an open letter of support for a pay increase.
The fight for an equitable contract is personified through the Off-Broadway actor Nick Westrate who won a Drama Desk award but had to file for bankruptcy since he could not make ends meet even though he continuously works Off-Broadway.