Attempts to resolve the dispute that could decide the fate of small theatre in Los Angeles have failed, and the battle now appears to be headed to court. Last October, a group of actors and local theatre owners filed suit against Actors’ Equity seeking to overturn the union’s decision to force small legit theatres in Los Angeles to pay their actors minimum wage. Under the current rules, many small theatre actors work for as little as $7 a day.
The two sides agreed to a ceasefire in December, saying they would attempt to resolve the dispute through mediated negotiations, with the dissidents agreeing not to serve the complaint on the union and the union agreeing to extend the deadline for implementing the new policy for as long as they keep making progress towards a new deal. The plaintiffs also withdrew all claims and causes of action against Equity executive director Mary McColl, who had been named as a defendant in their lawsuit.
Those talks, however, have collapsed, and the union says the matter will now have to be decided in court.
“While we are disappointed that this dispute will enter the courtroom, Equity intends to vigorously defend itself against the meritless lawsuit and will file an immediate motion to dismiss,” the union said in a statement.