Equity talks to start Tuesday

Negotiations to resume after holiday weekend

There’s nothing like a long holiday weekend to help set priorities.

Actors’ Equity will resume contract negotiations Tuesday with the League of American Theaters and Producers. The two orgs ceased talks Sunday, the date the old contract expired.

Performances on Broadway and the road have continued on a day-to-day basis. Wednesday’s joint statement from the union and the league stated, “Performances will continue into the foreseeable future.”

At the core of the negotiations has been the proliferation of nonunion tours on the road.

Sources close to the ruptured negotiations said that Sunday’s walkout occurred when the union broached the issue of “preservation of work language” in the new contract. In essence, it would require producers to use “area standards” regarding salaries, work conditions and benefits when licensing a property.

Broadway was last hit by a strike in March 2003, when the musicians union and the league disagreed over terms for their new contract. In a sympathy move, the actors and stagehands unions joined that action. Four days of perfs were canceled before Mayor Michael Bloomberg called for an arbitrator to help settle the dispute. Approximately $5 million was lost in Broadway receipts.

In 1960, thesps closed down Broadway for 13 days. In 1968, an actors’ strike lasted three days.

If the Tuesday talks don’t prove fruitful and Equity chooses to strike, four Broadway shows will continue to perform. Such nonprofit legit companies as Roundabout, Lincoln Center Theater and Manhattan Theater Club are covered by a League of Regional Theaters contract. Their Broadway shows include “After the Fall,” “Assassins,” “The Frogs” and “Sight Unseen.”

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