Public Theater Company Workers Vote to Join IATSE | Playbill

Industry News Public Theater Company Workers Vote to Join IATSE

The decision follows a growing trend of Off-Broadway companies voting to unionize, including Atlantic Theater Company and Titaníque earlier this year.

Production workers at Off-Broadway's Public Theater have officially voted to unionize and join IATSE. Of the company's workers, 70 percent voted, with 178 for and 11 against. The decision follows a growing trend of Off-Broadway companies voting to unionize, including Atlantic Theater Company and Titaníque earlier this year.

Off-Broadway theatre backstage workers are currently largely non-union, unlike their Broadway counterparts. The Public declined to voluntary recognize the backstage workers' union in March, prompting the decision to call for a vote.

Unionizing allows workers to collectively bargain, in hopes of improving working conditions, raising salaries, gaining health benefits, and more. Higher wages and other demands that often come with unionizations will also, however, raise production costs, which has the potential to come with higher-priced tickets and other changes to the Off-Broadway business model.

The voting group includes all of the Public's production employees, aside from the wardrobe, logistics, and production management departments; and production department supervisors, associate supervisors, and assistant technical directors. The Public's wardrobe department is currently working to organize separately.

"The Public works to be an employer of choice because we know our success is made possible by the success of our talent—both on and off-stage," reads a statement provided to Playbill from the company's Executive Director Patrick Willingham in response to the vote provided. "Having worked with IATSE for over two decades, we greatly appreciate their continued conversations during this process. As a civic institution with a deep commitment to equity, it has been incredibly important to us that our eligible team members had an opportunity to engage in a voting process that allowed every voice to be heard, and we thank IATSE for working with us to bring that to fruition. The Public looks forward to partnering with the union in this expanded capacity."

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