NEW YORK – March 20, 2020 – Members of the Coalition of Broadway Unions and Guilds (COBUG) issued the following statement announcing that members have reached an agreement with the Broadway League for compensation during the COVID-19 crisis. The COBUG unions negotiated jointly on the terms.
“We are grateful to be able to tell our members that the industry came together to provide some compensation during this terrible time.
“Broadway needs to come back and working together is the best way to make that happen. Now Congress must do its part for arts and entertainment workers on Broadway and beyond to ensure they have access to unemployment insurance and health care during this industry-wide shut down.”
Financial relief includes basic wage supplements to affected workers and additional health contributions with a commitment to resume discussions on the possibility of additional health contributions the week of April 6.
“The leaders of our industry have been working tirelessly with our partners at the unions to forge an agreement that will address many of the needs of our employees during this crisis. We are a community that cares about each other, and we are pleased that we can offer some relief,” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League. “Once we are past this challenging moment, we look forward to welcoming everyone back to our theatres to experience the best of live entertainment together once again.”
COBUG-affiliated unions represent the full spectrum of New York arts professionals, including: artists, dancers, singers, musicians, playwrights, directors and choreographers, , makeup artists, set, costume, lighting, sound and projection designers, stagehands, stage managers, ushers and ticket-takers, box office personnel, wardrobe workers, hairstylists, porters, press agents, company managers, and house managers. These are hard-working individuals who provide vital services to New York.
March 19, 2020 – “We fully support the Metropolitan Opera for taking the necessary steps to ensure the safety of workers and patrons during the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Adam Krauthamer, President of Local 802 AFM. “The Met Opera has informed us that it will not pay its regular musicians after March 31 and that it will extend health coverage indefinitely. The musicians of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, alongside the many other unions who work at the Met, are the heart and soul of this storied institution. These professionals, many with families who rely on their paychecks, are now facing the prospect of no income for an extended period of time. We believe that immediate governmental assistance is essential to avoid a brutal outcome for these musicians.”
NOTE: The Met Orchestra Musicians Committee will be in contact and available later today for comment from the musicians.
March 18, 2020 Statement from the Coalition of Broadway Unions and Guilds
COBUG represents artists and workers who create theatre, opera, dance, and concerts on Broadway, at Lincoln Center, and at venues across the city. New York’s cultural performing arts institutions are key drivers to New York’s economy. The role that nearly 100,000 arts workers play cannot be overstated.
The suspension of performances across the city will take a massive financial toll on our members as well as New York’s economy. By shuttering productions, fundamental economic lifelines have been cut for those who spend their lives bringing joy and art to our city.
We are requesting emergency financial and health protections. There are no “work remotely” options for our members, many of whom are freelance or paid per performance. They face the stark reality of not being able to work and earn a living, perhaps for months, compounded by the fact that they could lose their health coverage when they need it most: during a world pandemic.
We ask that the legislature prioritize our members’ needs, as they will be essential in re-energizing the important arts sector of New York’s economy when we re-emerge from this crisis.
We therefore call upon the government to pass immediate, substantial economic relief. Such relief should be earmarked specifically to replace lost earnings for our members who cannot work or license their work due to the effort to fight the COVID-19 virus, ensure health insurance coverage and extended sick leave and unemployment benefits, and provide emergency relief for those artists not otherwise assisted by such programs. Remedial measures should ensure the future survival of our members and the organizations for whom they work. There is no time to wait or to be delayed by political infighting. Please act now.
COBUG-affiliated unions represent the full of spectrum of New York arts professionals, including: artists, dancers, singers, musicians, playwrights, directors and choreographers, costume, makeup artists, set and lighting designers, stagehands, stage managers, ushers and ticket-takers, box office personnel, wardrobe, hairstylists, porters, press agents and company managers. These are hard-working individuals who provide vital services to this state and city. We ask that New York State not turn their backs on our members as they will be needed to reenergize the important arts sector of New York’s economy when this crisis passes.
COBUG is comprised of:
- The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, AFL-CIO, CLC
- Ushers, Ticket Takers & Stagedoor Persons, IATSE, Local 306
- Treasurers and Ticket Sellers Union, IATSE, Local 751
- Theatrical Wardrobe Union, Local 764, IATSE
- Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists, IATSE, Local 798
- Association of Theatrical Press Agents & Managers, IATSE, Local 18032
- Actors Equity Association
- American Federation of Musicians, AFM
- American Guild of Musical Artists
- Local 802 American Federation of Musicians, AFL-CIO
- Dramatists Guild of America
- Mail Telephone Order Clerks, IATSE, Local B-751
- Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, SDC
NEW YORK, NY – March 12, 2020 – As public health officials across the country advise a limit on public gatherings to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), President Adam Krauthamer of the Associated Musicians of Greater New York, Local 802 AFM, issued the following statement:
“In our city and state’s efforts to prevent and contain the spread of COVID-19, health authorities have urged social distancing, forcing businesses to cancel or indefinitely postpone large gatherings. For musicians, whose workspaces primarily constitute “large gatherings” – whether a theatre production, a concert, a music festival, or a recording session in close quarters – the developing coronavirus situation poses a major threat to our income and health and retirement benefits.
Many Local 802 members make their living as freelancers, relying on multiple employers for their income and to accrue health and pension benefits – which they can only accrue each time they work an engagement. While we applaud employers for taking all the necessary steps to ensure our members, fellow colleagues, and audience members are safe from the spread of this pandemic, the reality is that as musicians lose work for unpredictable amounts of time, their financial security is threatened. This does not just affect freelance musicians, but all our colleagues in the arts eco-system – hard-working actors, choristers, stage managers, crew members, ticket-sellers, and ushers who work in tandem to make the show go on.
As such, today I call on Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo to take action to ensure that musicians and other impacted cultural workers are covered during this time of crisis. As theaters and concert halls go dark, we must ensure that musicians and other arts workers are not left behind. We call on all relevant government agencies to work immediately to put together and pass a strong economic relief package that ensures all arts workers have access to health care and unemployment benefits while their workplaces are shuttered. Immediate action is required not only to protect public health, but arts funding at all levels. This will provide arts employers the resources they need to quickly recover and reopen when appropriate. New York benefits from one of the most dynamic and profitable arts and entertainment sectors in the world – we must ensure that all the workers who keep this sector running are taken care of during this pandemic and able to get back on strong economic footing when the crisis passes.”