An Introduction to Pink Contract Touring

Welcome to the world of Pink Contract Touring.  Whether you are a brand-new ACT member or a member of a numbered Local out on your first tour, this booklet will get you up to speed on what you need to know about touring under an IATSE Pink Contract.

The pink contracts are overseen by the Stagecraft Department under the leadership of Department Director International Vice President Michael J. Barnes, Assistant Department Director Stasia Savage, and International Representative Brian Munroe.  International Vice Presidents Dan Ditolla, John Lewis, Craig Carlson, Colleen Glynn, and Paul Dean assist with the Stagecraft Department, as well as other Stagecraft Department representatives.

You can contact the Stagecraft department at 212-730-1770 or stagecraft@iatse.net.  There is also a Stagecraft department website at www.iatse.net/stagecraft

It is touring as a crew member on the road with live entertainment shows that have a Collective Bargaining Agreement with The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, more commonly known as IATSE or simply “The IA”.  We are the union behind the entertainment industry.

A Collective Bargaining Agreement, also known as a CBA, a Contract, or an Agreement, is the legal contract between an employer and a union representing the workers that governs working conditions, wages and benefits, and other items.  The Union negotiates, or bargains, the agreement as the representative of the workers.

Pink Contract is a broad term referring to various contracts between the IATSE and live entertainment producers.  They are referred to colloquially as Pink Contracts because they were originally printed on pink colored paper. 

There are many different pink contracts covering Broadway, Broadway-style tours, TV award shows, family shows, and industrials. The various Pink Contracts all have different working conditions, wages, and benefits. In fact, a single contract can have different tiers within that contract with each tier having different working conditions, wages, and benefits.

It is very important to know which contract and tier you are working under.  This booklet is intended specifically for crew members working under either The Broadway League/Disney Theatrical agreement or the two agreements with the Non-League Employers.

What do you need to work under a pink contract?

Before you can tour on a pink contract there are several conditions that must be met:

  • You must be a journeyman member in good standing in the IATSE (Apprentices are not allowed to tour)
  • Your Local must represent the craft that you are traveling under. For example, if you are in the wardrobe department, your Local must represent wardrobe. If you are in the props department, your Local must represent props. ACT represents all theatrical crafts
  • Your dues to your local or ACT must be paid in full for the year
  • You must have a road card issued by your Local. The road card indicates that you are a member in good standing and have permission from your Local to travel. As ACT members are overseen by the International, they do not need a road card.
  • You must have a pink contract passport issued by the Stagecraft Department. The passport identifies the show you are traveling with and your position on the crew.  The department issues passports at the request of the employer at the start of a tour or when you are first hired.
  • The above requirements have to be met anytime you are working under a Pink Contract. At the beginning of each year you will need to have a paid-in-full membership card from your local or ACT, and you will need a road card, if applicable, each year from your Local

You should keep your Union Card, Road Card (if applicable) and your pink passport documents close at hand as you may be asked to show them to a local union representative during your stop in their jurisdiction.  This is a process known as “Cards and Contracts”.  This often happens at coffee during the load in or early in the performance schedule and is most frequently done by the local Business Agent or the Head Carpenter of the theater. “Cards and Contracts” ensures that everyone working on the crew is a union member in good standing and is working under the protection of the pink contract.  If your cards and contracts are not in order, or not available, you may not be allowed to work.  Do not keep your documents locked away in a roadbox that might not be unloaded when your documents are checked.

It is important to know what contract and tier you are working on.  There are two different groups of employers who tour Broadway-style shows under a pink contract.  The first is the Broadway League and Disney Theatricals, informally known as “The League”.  The second group is called “The Non-League employers” and consists of Big League Productions, NETWorks Presentations, Crossroads Live North America (formerly Troika), and Work Light Productions.  The League has one contract with 3 tiers.  The League tiers are Full, Modified, and SET.  The Non-League employers have two contracts.  The first is called the “L” contract.  The “L” contract is very similar to the League contract and has the same 3 tiers – Full, Modified, and SET.  The Non-League employers have another contract called the “Bus and Truck” contract.  The bus and truck contract has two tiers – “M” and “S”.  Fun history fact – the first contracts with the Non-League employers were called, very creatively, the “L”, “M”, and “S” contracts for Large, Medium, and Small. Please contact the Stagecraft Department (212-730-1770, stagecraft@iatse.net) if you need a copy of your contract or have any contract related questions.

The Union Steward is a fellow crew member who has been elected by the crew to be their representative.  The Steward is the eyes and ears of the union. The Steward, with assistance from the Stagecraft Department, addresses any questions that may arise regarding contract questions.  The Steward is also the line of communication between the road crew and the Stagecraft Department.  While local crew members have union representatives readily available, often working on the same call, road crews are a bit of an island unto themselves with no on-site presence from the International.  If there are issues the Union will not be aware of them until the steward reports them.  For this reason, it is very important that the steward keeps in close contact with the Stagecraft Department.  A steward should be chosen by the crew by election as early as is practical. 

The Pink Contract is a minimum conditions contract.  That means that you are free to negotiate with the employer for better wages and conditions.  Wages are the most common item where negotiations between the employer and employee occur.  The “street rate” is what employers are typically paying over the minimum rates.  The street rate varies greatly between employers and tiers.  The Stagecraft Department tracks the street rates and can advise you on what employers are currently paying.  While you are free to negotiate ABOVE the contract, you can not lower or negate any of the conditions of the contract.

communicating with the local unions.  The Yellow Card system, along with the White Card system, are methods of communicating the labor needs of a show to the local unions where the show will be playing.  The yellow card details, by department, the number of people required for the load in, performances, and load out.  The yellow card also lists the number of crew members touring with the show.  The yellow card must be set by the Head Carpenter at the 2nd stop after production.  The white card is similar to the yellow card for the wardrobe department.  The white card details the labor needs for the wardrobe department such as number of dressers, laundry person, stitchers, and other important information.  Both the yellow card and white card are done electronically and are available on the Union’s website (www.iatse.net/yellow-cards). Fun history fact – While the yellow card is electronic now and only done once at the beginning of the tour, it was originally an actual yellow card that the Head Carpenters would have to fill out by hand, in triplicate, for each stop on the tour and old-school snail-mail them to the local union for each stop.

You may be asked to sign a deal memo and/or an employee handbook.  A deal memo, in the old days called a “white letter”, is a document that specifies your specific terms with the company, such as salary, per diem, time off policies, and such. An employee handbook, or company manual, or other similar names, is the employer’s policies and guidelines.  Often a lengthy book filled with a lot of boilerplate language that does not apply to us. When there are conflicts between the Pink Contract and a deal memo or company handbook, the contract takes precedence. If you have any questions about a deal memo or handbook please contact the Stagecraft Department

Your Rights as a touring worker:

As an employee working under a union contract you have many rights that are protected by the union and federal labor law.  You have the right to a safe working environment, free from unsafe working conditions but also free from harassment and discrimination.  The union has a safety hotline – 844-IA AWARE or 844-422-9273 – that you can call at any time with a safety concern.  You have the right to have a union representative, such as your steward or department head, present during any meeting with management that could lead to discipline.  This right is known as your “Weingarten rights” and is detailed in a card distributed to you by the union.  Weingarten rights are also now also being printed on the pink contract passports.  The Steward also has additional rights, in particular the right to be treated as an equal by management when performing steward duties. Fun history fact: “Weingarten rights” are called that because of a 1975 United States Supreme Court decision involving a chicken lunch and a chain of stores operated by J. Weingarten Inc.

The contract sets the working conditions under which you are employed.  For instance, when you are entitled to a meal break, when and how you earn overtime, what the employer’s obligation is in regards to travel, housing, and numerous other conditions.  Working conditions vary by contract and tier, so it is important to know which contract and tier applies to your show.

While the Pink Contract governs working conditions for the touring crew, the local venue will have conditions that are governed by the contract between the local union and the venue, as well as local tradition and the physical aspects of the venue.  These are referred to as “local conditions” and you will frequently see or hear the phrase “subject to local conditions”.  Local conditions determine such things as who unloads trucks (stagehands, teamsters, a 3rd party), are the local house heads “working” or “non-working” heads, are the riggers part of the carpentry crew or in addition to, can the tour flyman run cues during the show or just oversee the local crew, do you need more pushers because the trucks unload on the street instead of a loading dock, and many more.

The people you'll meet:

A who’s who of people involved in Union touring. Successfully running a tour involves many different people, both on the tour side and the local venue side.  Important people for you to know:

The person/people/organization who own and operate the show.

Hired by the producer to manage the overall operations of the tour. Sometimes the general manager is also the producer

Deals with all technical aspects of the show.  The production manager may be an in-house person working with the general manager, or an outside company hired by the producer/general manager. The production manager will usually hire and oversee the touring crew. In some companies this person may be known as the Technical Director or Technical Supervisor

Works for the General Manager, handles all the day-to-day operations of the show.  The company manager arranges travel and housing, handles payroll, and deals with any on-site issues.  The company manager is the highest level of management traveling with a tour. Although on many shows the company manager will be an IATSE member through the Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers  (ATPAM), they are not working under a Pink Contract and you should NOT be asking the company manager to interpret your contract.

The Stage management team, usually consisting of a Production Stage Manager (PSM) and one or more assistants, is responsible for maintaining the artist aspects of the show. From how the actors are performing to how the creative designs look on stage. They work with the head carpenter and other department heads, with the actors and musicians, and company management and general management.  The production stage manager is driving the bus, so to speak.   If your tour is an Equity tour (covered by the Actors Equity Association), the stage managers will be members of Equity.

The Head Carpenter is the overall head of the touring show crew.  The Head carpenter is in charge of load-ins and load-outs, shows, and all other aspects of running the tour’s technical aspects on-site. The head carpenter is in charge of the “nuts and bolts” of the show. The Head Carpenter is usually the person who submits payroll for the crew.  The Head Carpenter works closely with the production manager or technical director to plan the tour.

In addition to the Head Carpenter, the other technical departments (lighting, sound, props, wardrobe, hair and make-up) will have a department head.  This person is in charge of their respective departments and will coordinate with the Head Carpenter

The venue will have department heads for each department.  Like the show crew, in most venues the House Carpenter will be in charge of the overall crew.  The local house heads run the local crew. Depending on local conditions, the house heads may be “non-working heads” who are over and above the yellow card numbers

The crew working for the venue to assist the show crew in loading in and out and running the show.  It is important to note that the show crew are NOT the supervisors of the local crew.

The person on the local crew who represents the local workers and addresses local contract issues.  On larger load ins and load outs the local steward may be a non-working steward so they are free to deal with staffing and payroll paperwork.  This is often the house carpenter.

The officer from the local union who fills the labor calls and deals with local contract issues.  The Business Agent may also be the local officer conducting the cards and contracts check


Benefits are one of the most important aspects of working under a pink contract.  Benefits that have been negotiated on your behalf by the union include health and welfare, annuity, pension and, on some contracts, vacation.  The benefits vary by contract and tier, so again it is important to know which contract you are working on.  Benefits are managed by the IATSE National Benefit Funds, also known as the NBF or the Fund Office.  The NBF website (www.iatsenbf.org) has lots of information on the various benefits. You can set-up an account on the fund office website to track your benefits.  Although a full discussion of the benefits is beyond the scope of this guide, there are a few important items to note:

  • In addition to the annuity benefit in the contract, the annuity plan on many of the contracts allows you to make tax deferred contributions to your annuity account, deducted from your paycheck. This is similar to a traditional 401(k) contribution.  Check with the Fund Office if you wish to do this.
  • Health and Welfare Plan – The fund office offers two different health and welfare plans, Plan A and Plan C. Which plan your employer contributes to depends on what contract you are working
  • Plan A-to-C Redirect – If you have an established Plan C CAPP account with the fund office, you can elect to have any Plan A contributions redirected to your Plan C account. Check with the Fund Office if you wish to do this.
  • Redirect to a Different Benefit Plan – If you have previous contributions to another IATSE benefit plan with your local, you may elect to have your pink contract benefits redirected to that plan instead of the NBF. Contact the stagecraft department if you wish to do this.

Training and Eductaion

The IATSE Education and Training Department offers many avenues for additional training to our members, including free training from Linkedin Learning and Avixa (The AudioVisual Integrated Experience Association). The IATSE Training Trust Fund (TTF)  offers reimbursements for a number of professional certifications and classes. Please visit www.iatse.net/education and www.iatsetrainingtrust.org for further information


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