Actors’ Equity has filed another charge with the Natl. Labor Relations Board against American Girl Place, New York, the retail outpost of the popular line of dolls.
In an Unfair Labor Practice charge, the actors’ union claims that American Girl management funneled unlawful payments to thesps employed by American Girl, in an effort to sway a recent vote to unionize by the shows’ casts.
A rep for American Girl said she could not comment because the company had not yet received notification of the charge.
Equity and American Girl have tangled in the past over the actors, who appear in original one-act musicals presented at the Gotham store (“Circle of Friends: An American Girl Musical,” “Bitty Bear’s Matinee: The Family Tree”).
In July, Equity filed a charge with the NLRB alleging that American Girl had wrongfully attempted to coerce the thesps and thwart their efforts to unionize, which prompted the majority of actors to stage a three-day walkout in August. Earlier this month the NLRB deemed that the charge had merit.
According to the new charge, American Girl paid an additional $200 per week in “special pay consideration” to some actors over six weeks leading up to the unionization vote, which was held Nov. 17 and 18. Thesps voted 7 to 5 in favor of representation by Equity — a result that Equity says management is now challenging.
Hugely successful property American Doll is based on a line of dolls representing multicultural girls from a variety of historical eras whose tales demonstrate wholesome values. Company’s three stores in Gotham, Chi and L.A. are tourist magnets. During high tourist season, there can be as many as 20 perfs per week at the multi-level New York outpost.