Performers and stage managers will be released from nondisclosure agreements they have signed to work on four Broadway shows associated with producer Scott Rudin under a settlement agreement between the Broadway League and Actors’ Equity Association.
The union said the two sides had agreed that in the future producers would no longer ask actors or stage managers to sign such agreements unless approved by the union, which could sign them in limited circumstances for things like intellectual property or financial information. The League declined to comment.
The settlement stems from a labor dispute that began last year when Rudin, long one of the most powerful producers on Broadway, was accused of tyrannical behavior towards a variety of people who worked with him, prompting an Equity stage manager to warn. the union to the nondisclosure agreements required for some Rudin shows.
Last spring, the union asked Rudin to fire employees from the non-disclosure agreements, and in January the union filed a couple of complaints about unfair labor practices with the National Labor Relations Board regarding “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “West Side Story”, both . of which produced by Rudin at the time.
The union argued that non-disclosure agreements illegally restricted workers’ rights. The complaints were initially filed against Rudin and his general manager; in recognition of the fact that Rudin is not currently actively producing on Broadway or in Hollywood, and resigned from the Broadway League last year, the complaints were expanded to include the Broadway League, a trade association that represents producers.
The union said it had since learned that non-disclosure agreements had been used by four recent Broadway productions, including not only “Mockingbird” and “West Side Story,” but also “The Iceman Cometh,” of which Rudin was a lead producer, and “The Lehman Trilogy.” ”, of which Rudin was one of the main producers.
The union withdrew complaints from the National Labor Relations Board earlier this month after reaching a settlement agreement with the League. According to a copy of the settlement agreement, the League has agreed to release any actors or stage managers who have signed such an agreement with the four recent productions from confidentiality, nondisclosure and contempt agreements. (The agreement will not affect the employees in Rudin’s office, many of whom had to sign detailed nondisclosure agreements as part of their employment contract.)
The settlement comes at a time when nondisclosure agreements are increasingly under scrutiny in many workplaces.
“Exploitation stems from isolation,” said Andrea Hoeschen, the union’s general counsel. “There is no stronger tool for an abuser or a harasser, regardless of the setting, than silence.”
It’s not clear how often nondisclosure agreements are used on Broadway.
“We intend to broadly tell our members about this settlement, and if they are asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement, we will push back on those who violate our members’ rights,” Hoeschen said.