The performers and stage managers will be released from confidentiality agreements they signed to work on four Broadway shows related to producer Scott Rudin under an agreement between the League of Broadway and the Actors’ Equity Association.
The union said the two sides had agreed that, going forward, producers would no longer require actors or stage managers to sign such agreements unless approved by the union, which could sign them in limited circumstances to protect things like intellectual property or financial information. The League declined to comment.
The deal stems from a labor dispute that began last year, when Rudin, long one of Broadway’s most powerful producers, faced accusations that he had behaved tyrannically toward a variety of people who worked with him, prompted a stage manager from Equity to alert. the union to confidentiality agreements required by some Rudin shows.
Last spring, the union asked Rudin to release employees from confidentiality agreements, and in January, the union filed a pair of unfair labor practice complaints with the National Labor Relations Board regarding “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “West Side Story”, both of which were produced at the time by Rudin.
The union argued that the confidentiality agreements illegally restricted the workers’ rights. His 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 as a member of the Broadway League last year, the complaints were expanded to include the Broadway League, which is a trade association representing to the producers.
The union said it has since learned that nondisclosure agreements were being used by four recent Broadway productions, including not only “Mockingbird” and “West Side Story” but also “The Iceman Cometh,” in which Rudin was the main producer, and “The Lehman Trilogy”, in which Rudin was one of the main producers.
The union withdrew the 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 agreed to release from confidentiality, non-disclosure and non-disparagement agreements any actor or stage manager who has signed such an agreement with the four recent productions. (The settlement does not affect workers at Rudin’s office, many of whom were required to sign detailed confidentiality agreements as part of their employment contracts.)
The settlement comes at a time when non-disclosure agreements in many workplaces have come under increasing scrutiny.
“Exploitation feeds on isolation,” said Andrea Hoeschen, the union’s general counsel. “There is no stronger tool for an abuser or stalker, regardless of the setting, than silence.”
It’s unclear how often NDAs are used on Broadway.
“We intend to widely inform our members about this agreement, and if they are asked to sign a confidentiality agreement, we will reject them for violating our members’ rights,” Hoeschen said.