Broadway’s Essential Workers Get Wage Increase and Benefit Boosts

A new contract with theater owners and management allows hundreds of Broadway’s custodians, elevator operators, and restroom attendants to get a pay bump and an increased pension contribution from their employers.

Photo credit: Simon Davis-Cohen

In the new contract, the essential workers will get wage increases, increased pension contributions, and continued paid family healthcare 100% covered by their employers. The deal establishes a $15-per-week minimum payment to any workers who regularly do heavy lifting involving transporting playbills.

 Lorraine Feeks who has worked on Broadway with Jujamcyn Theaters for 29 years spoke about the excitement of the new contract in a statement.

We have gone through a lot over the past two years. When Broadway returned, we were given all sorts of new cleaning duties. We do the hard jobs and we are risking infection, that makes us essential.

About 230 cleaners from four companies — Jujamcyn, Nederlander, Shubert, and Circle in the Square, which collectively manage 16 Broadway theaters — were represented by Local 32BJ in the contract negotiation. The contracts got pushed back because of the pandemic, and as a result, workers didn’t receive any wage increases in more than three years, despite their jobs becoming more demanding due to the pandemic.

Martha Aristizabal.

Martha Aristizabal, who has worked for the Shubert Company for more than 12 years, spoke about how more complicated their jobs have gotten, and the need for wage increases.

It can be hard to see the important work we do on Broadway, cleaning tirelessly to keep theatergoers safe. Since we came back to work, we have been asked to do a lot more to keep everyone safe. It feels good to get a new contract that reflects the contribution we have made during the pandemic. We deserve these raises, we deserve continued health coverage, and we deserve better retirement security!

– Martha Aristizabal, Shubert Company

This news comes just after The Broadway League announced that all 41 theaters on Broadway will go “mask optional” for the month of July and that the policy will be re-evaluated on a monthly basis going forward. Most theatres have also dropped their vaccine requirements.

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