by Lindsay Nicole Chambers
I have to admit I was a little surprised to read the news that Actors’ Equity is on strike. I’d been attending meetings about the negotiations for the Lab contract between Actors’ Equity Association and the Broadway League. People have been phone banking and talking to audience members waiting in line at the TKTS booth. We’ve been talking about this issue non-stop since the Hamilton cast won their fight to get participation. But I couldn’t believe we actually pulled the trigger for work action. I’m so proud.
It’s about time we, as a union, stood up in a way that will get the attention of these producers. It’s easy to shout into our echo chambers (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, probably some new thing the kids are using that I haven’t heard of…) about change, but hopefully this work action will give us the the power to demand the change we want. We’ve got to start working as a unit instead of individual artists afraid that we’ll never work again.
We need to realize that this is BUSINESS. This is the business end of an artistic industry. Producers treat it that way and we need to start seeing it that way, too. We have to put on our big-kid pants and start standing up for ourselves and respectfully declining to work until we get what we need to continue to live in this city- a wage that goes up with inflation, guarantees that our work will be attributed to us, and that we’ll get a monetary piece of the pie if the show makes any pie. (Pie here is money.)
I love that we’re getting DO NOT WORK notices from AEA. Let’s keep that up. Let’s stick it to the man just a little for all the times we’ve had it stuck to us. Let’s fight with, and for each other. Let’s keep up the work action - it seems to be the only thing that really gets the attention we need to get our basic needs met. Let’s keep growing balls and swinging them (respectfully) around.