Production Employees Join a Growing Wave of Resident Theatre Organizing Wins
Washington, DC – In a victory for theater workers, production employees of Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington DC voted yes for a union. The workers, members of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 22 filed a petition for a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election and voted 23 to 6 to collectively bargain the terms of their employment.
Approximately fifty people work behind-the-scenes building and fabricating shows presented by the Shakespeare Theatre Company. Crafts include carpenters, electricians, painters, audio and video technicians, costumers, and hair and make-up artists, among others.
Shakespeare Theatre Company is a not-for-profit arts organization and member of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT), the largest trade association for professional resident theatre companies in America. In 2020 the employer’s gross receipts totaled just over $13.5 million dollars.
The production employees organized for a voice in the job and to improve their wages and conditions.
“We are excited for the overwhelming vote today,’ said Local 22 Organizer Nick Arancibia “The workers have spoken. They want better representation.”
Since the pandemic shuttered the entertainment industry, live event workers are forming unions for their mutual aid and protection with the IATSE, the Union behind entertainment, including newly organized groups at other resident theatres. Workers at the Guthrie Theater, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, North Shore Music Theatre, Pittsburgh Playhouse, and Signature Theatre have all joined in union since 2020.