Hundreds of Broadway workers will be paid and receive their health insurance for the first few weeks of the shutdown, which was ordered on March 12 by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in response to the coronavirus crisis.
The New York Times reported that the “emergency relief agreement” means that the workers will receive full pay for the first week of the close-down, and “the contractual minimum” for the next two. They will also receive health, pension and 401(k) benefits for the first two-and-a-half weeks of the month, then just health insurance for the rest of the month.
The agreement was negotiated by the Broadway League, the national trade association for the Broadway industry, and 14 labor unions including the Actors’ Equity Association. While it covers employees working on all the commercial shows running at the time Broadway was shuttered—and another three yet to begin—it does not include those working at Broadway’s six non-profit theaters.
As The Daily Beast reported, on Friday the producers of Martin McDonagh’s comedy drama Hangmen revealed they had been forced to close the show before its official Broadway opening because of the shuttering of the Great White Way.
Other shows may yet close, as the shutdown is expected to last into the early summer, rather than April 13 as Governor Cuomo originally stipulated. Further discussions will take place between the League and unions the longer the shutdown continues beyond April 13.
Charlotte St. John, the president of the Broadway League, told the Times that she hoped the “tiding over” deal was “fair and generous… Our goal was also to get as many shows to come back as possible, and with the slim margins for 90 percent of the shows on Broadway, we had to take that into consideration.”
Kate Shindle, president of Actors’ Equity, told the Times that the union had tried to get the best deal for its members while “trying to make sure we don’t bankrupt the individual shows in the process. Our members would like to have jobs to go back to.”