Broadway Producers Want Union Concessions Before Reopening
Why on earth would anyone expect to receive a pay cut? It makes no sense even to consider one.
“There have been general conversations [with unions] about what the contracts might look like, what might be changed,” Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin said during the final day of The TheaterMakers Summit. “We’ll have to get to the changes, if any, toward wages and work rules and all of that to get open, because the producers will have to figure out if they can reopen. If you reopen at 50 percent of your previous attendance, nobody even comes close to recouping at 50 percent of the theater being open. So we’ll have to talk about things.”
Yeah, let's talk about it. How about this—no show will reopen until they can pay everyone involved the same money they earned back on March 11th.
Here's a solution. Maybe The Broadway League can conjure up the 21st Century, "I Love New York" campaign in conjunction with King Cuomo to welcome people back to "the greatest city in the world." They can use that advertisement campaign to lure new paying customers from all over the world back to NYC. The theater owners will be pleased because the productions will pack in the audience members with advance sales.
I'd like to see an NYC revival campaign. There should be coordination with restaurant associations, the hospitality industry, tourism groups, midtown business associations, and other interested parties. We will see a nine-month boom in retail, restaurant, hotel, and tourist attractions—resulting in an overwhelming desire to partake in one of the main things people travel to New York to see—BROADWAY SHOWS!
Advance ticket sale revenue will be enormous. Most shows will have a year or two of advanced sales, with ticket prices averaging around $125.
Then, and only then, theaters should open, and performances will begin. Who knows, by that time, it may be the summer of 2022. Maybe people will "feel safe" by then. Joe Biden supposedly plans to take care of all of the unemployed people working in all of these industries, so the return to work date isn’t a pressing issue. But hey, I may be wrong. Maybe there is no plan, just like the last president.
Whatever happens in my plan or real life, why on earth would anyone expect to receive a pay cut? It makes no sense even to consider one. Maybe I overestimate the power of unions in 2020. This is one time we should be like former President Donald Trump – never concede, especially when it comes to money.
Think things through; are ticket prices going to be reduced? Will we see tickets to Hamilton topped out at $99? Who's taking a hit here? If The Broadway League feels shows should be devalued, that's their problem, not mine.
In my newsletter post about Picasso's Napkin, I wrote that people must value their work, time, and skills they bring to the table. They should demand that others respect it enough to pay for it.
Suppose you have put in the years to develop your skills and hours to produce a quality product or service. In that case, that time and effort should be appropriately compensated for you to continue practicing your profession.
The years of creating, experimenting, refining, and working with various people in different locations come at a steep price. These experiences lead to proficiency and ease. It may appear simple, but it takes years of experience to make things look easy.
To be able to create a masterpiece in five minutes might have taken 40 years. It took me 28 years to get where I am. I demand to get paid for what I do, just like an attorney would represent you in a court of law. Yes, we all might do a pro-bono gig here or there, but the art we create as musicians is just as valuable as any other product or service.
The lesson here is clear. Don't undervalue your services.
Our unions should think about what the alternatives are for the Broadway League. Are they going to use non-union workers for every show moving forward? Maybe they could, but it would be a public relations fiasco.
When you stop being cheap and continuously conceding to demands, people you negotiate with suddenly value you more. The reason? When people derive value from your services, they are prepared to take advantage of what you have to offer. They will pay you what you are worth.
All of us who are part of each broadway show is worth every penny we earn. In the future negotiation, we should ask for more!
This was originally posted on my website: www.claytoncraddock.com.
Clayton Craddock is an independent thinker, father of two beautiful children in New York City. He is the drummer of the hit broadway musical Ain’t Too Proud. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Howard University’s School of Business and is a 28 year veteran of the fast-paced New York City music scene. He has played drums in several hit broadway and off-broadway musicals, including “Tick, tick…BOOM!, Altar Boyz, Memphis The Musical, and Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar and Grill. Also, Clayton has worked on: Footloose, Motown, The Color Purple, Rent, Little Shop of Horrors, Spongebob Squarepants The Musical, Evita, Cats, and Avenue Q.