The actors, stage managers, bartenders, and servers of Drunk Shakespeare in New York City, the longest-running of the productions nationwide, have joined with their fellow workers in Chicago, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C. to unionize as Drunk Shakespeare United. The four companies of the theatrical franchise have designated Actors’ Equity Association as their bargaining representative.
The New York City company currently awaits certification by the National Labor Relations Board. However, their employer, Meme Juice Productions, voluntarily recognized their colleagues in Chicago, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C., and the New York branch is anticipating similar treatment.
“With the addition of New York, we now have nearly one hundred workers organized with Drunk Shakespeare United,” said Director of Organizing and Mobilization Stefanie Frey in a statement. “They have repeatedly told us how valuable it’s been to connect for the first time with their colleagues in other cities, to realize that they are not alone in navigating many of their workplace issues. This is a perfect example of workers having more power together, and we’re excited to come to the bargaining table and find a deal that makes Drunk Shakespeare a better, safer, fairer workplace across the country. This is going to mean a theater experience that runs more smoothly, and for longer.”
Drunk Shakespeare first opened in New York almost nine years ago, and currently has five productions of the show running around the country: the four newly unionized productions as well as a recently opened company in Houston. Equity encourages all workers in live performance who feel they would benefit from a union contract to contact the union’s organizing department at actorsequity.org/organize.