Broadway Producers, Unions Announce Emergency Relief Agreement

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The Broadway League, representing producers, theatre owners and general managers, has reached an agreement with Broadway unions for emergency relief during the COVID-19 shutdown. The agreement will provide Broadway employees with pay and health insurance during the current suspension of all Broadway shows.

The financial relief includes basic wage supplements to affected workers and additional health contributions, with a commitment to resume discussions the week of April 6 on the possibility of additional contributions.

A New York Times report indicates that workers will be paid their normal salaries for the week cut short by the March 12 shutdown. For the following two weeks, all workers will be paid at the contractual minimum. Full benefits including health, pension, and 401(k) are covered for the two and a half weeks, according to The Times, with health benefits only through April 12.

“The leaders of our industry have been working tirelessly with our partners at the unions to forge an agreement that will address many of the needs of our employees during this crisis. We are a community that cares about each other, and we are pleased that we can offer some relief,” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League. “Once we are past this challenging moment, we look forward to welcoming everyone back to our theatres to experience the best of live entertainment together once again.”

“We are grateful to be able to tell our members that the industry came together to provide some compensation during this terrible time,” said the Coalition of Broadway Unions and Guilds in a statement. “Broadway needs to come back and working together is the best way to make that happen. Now Congress must do its part for arts and entertainment workers on Broadway and beyond to ensure they have access to unemployment insurance and health care during this industry-wide shut down.”

Coalition-affiliated unions and guilds represent actors, artists, dancers, singers, musicians, playwrights, directors and choreographers, makeup artists, set, costume, lighting, sound and projection designers, stagehands, stage managers, ushers and ticket-takers, box office personnel, wardrobe workers, hairstylists, porters, press agents, company managers, and house managers.

The agreement was jointly announced by the League and the Coalition less than 90 minutes after playwright Martin McDonagh’s Olivier Award-winning Hangmen became Broadway’s first permanent show closing following the March 12 temporary shutdown of all 31 Broadway productions. Hangmen began previews at Broadway’s John Golden Theatre on Saturday, February 28 and was scheduled to officially open on Thursday, March 19 when the March 12 shutdown went into effect.

Today, the producers of Hangmen, which was to star Downton Abbey‘s Dan Stevens and Game of Thrones‘ Mark Addy, announced they do not “have the economic resources” to keep the production on hold through the Broadway shutdown. 

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