IATSE's DePaulo and Equity's Eisenberg to co-chair

Cobug is not the winter flu, though legit producers may wish it were.

Last week, 13 legit orgs representing more than 75,000 workers in the live-entertainment industry joined forces to create the Coalition of Broadway Unions and Guilds.

Cobug’s co-chairs are Anthony DePaulo, business manager for IATSE Local 1, and Alan Eisenberg, executive director of Actors’ Equity. In a joint statement, the two union execs said the newly formed org will strengthen the legit unions and various guilds “to make our collective voice and concerns heard by employers, public officials and the theatergoing public.”

Diverse coalition

Cobug’s 13 member orgs are Actors’ Equity Assn.; American Federation of Musicians Local 802; Assn. of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers Local 18032; Dramatists Guild; Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Intl.; Makeup Artists-Hair Stylists Union Local 798; Motion Picture Projectionists, Operators, Video Technicians, Theatrical Employees & Allied Crafts Local 306; Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers; Service Employees Intl. Union Local 32BJ Theater Division; Theatrical Protective Union Stage Hands Local 1; Theatrical Wardrobe Union Local 764; Treasurers & Ticket Sellers Union Local 751; and Local United Scenic Artists (USA) 829.

Tuner tension

In 2003, the scenic artists and musicians are in negotiations for new contracts with the League of American Theaters and Producers. Talks with Local 802 are expected to be especially contentious. Producers have balked at a long-standing contract provision that specifies the number of musicians required to be hired for tuners playing Broadway’s larger venues.

In addition to achieving recognition and advocating public policy for the unions and guilds, the Cobug statement from IATSE and Equity specifically mentioned assessing the “impact of new media and computerized technologies on live theater.” Musicians have voiced concerns that producers may try to replace Broadway musicians with a so-called virtual orchestra.

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