Actors’ Equity Association and Broadway League Settle Waitress Grievance | Playbill

Industry News Actors’ Equity Association and Broadway League Settle Waitress Grievance

The producers and licensor had been accused of profiting from union and non-union workers at the same time.

Keala Settle, Jessie Mueller and Kimiko Glenn in the original Broadway production of Waitress Joan Marcus

Actors’ Equity Association and The Broadway League have settled a grievance that was filed in May 2022 against Waitress producers Barry and Fran Weissler and Waitress licensor National Artists Management Company that alleged "double-breasting," simultaneously profiting from union and non-union workers.

A joint statement from Actors’ Equity Association, which represents more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers, and The Broadway League, the national trade association for the Broadway industry, reads, “Actors’ Equity Association and The Broadway League are pleased that the parties were able to reach a settlement of the grievance filed by Actors’ Equity Association in May 2022 in connection with the most recent tour of the musical Waitress. The settlement is an amicable resolution acknowledging the interests of all parties, including the producers, actors and stage managers, given the unique circumstances regarding this production.”

With a book by Jessie Nelson and a score by Sara Bareilles, Waitress had been in the unusual situation of having concurrently running union and non-union tours.

Equity had allegedly uncovered evidence that NAMCO had a financial interest in the non-Equity production. This would have violated the union recognition clause of both Equity’s Production Contract and Short Engagement Touring Agreement to which NAMCO and the Weisslers are party through their membership in the Broadway League.

Equity had previously filed with the National Labor Relations Board to represent the actors and stage managers of the non-union tour. The filing was triggered by a card campaign—the first for Actors' Equity in more than a decade—in which a "critical mass" of company members expressed their desire to be represented by the theatrical union.

Non-union company members cited the union production's dramatically higher pay—the non-union performers were reportedly paid a third of what their union counterparts received—and comparatively less stringent safety protocols as the reasoning behind their decision to unionize.

Led by Jisel Soleil Ayon as Jenna, the non-union tour cast of Waitress also included Dominique Kent as Becky, Gabriella Marzetta as Dawn, David Socolar as Dr. Pomatter, Brian Lundy as Ogie, Shawn W. Smith as Earl, Jake Mills as Cal, and Michael R. Douglass as Joe. The ensemble comprised Elvie Ellis, Stephanie Feeback, Olivia London, Jake McCready, Dayna Marie Quincy, Zoë Brooke Reed, and Woody White, with swings Nicole Clemetson, Justin Forward, Justin Glass, Andrew Burton Kelley, and Julia Rippon.

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