Patti LuPone Says She Resigned From Stage Actors’ Union Because of Unfair Contract
Patti LuPone, one of Broadway’s most versatile performers, told The Huffington Post that she resigned from the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) because of the unfair contract that the union has forced her to sign over the last several years.
In an email interview, LuPone, who is in her 50s, discussed what she terms as a “very nasty” new contract that was negotiated during AFTRA’s ongoing negotiations and what she believes makes it more punitive than the one before it.
“There is a difference,” she said. “The one before was ‘fair’ because it was negotiated by the union, and the ones in recent years have been done on the back of the taxpayer.”
In response to the new contract, which went into effect on Friday morning, LuPone said, “It’s a very nasty contract; it’s much worse than the one before, and that is why I announced my resignation today. It’s so unfair not to have a vote to ratify the contract, and also the union makes it very hard to vote against the contract.”
LuPone, who was a member of the union for 35 years, was negotiating the new contract with New Jersey-based AFTRA, which represents roughly 250 workers in the Los Angeles and New York City area. She signed an agreement in March 2015, but the union has not been able to approve the terms with the Federal Communications Commission.
LuPone said she was given a “pittance” compared to her colleagues who were being paid, on average, $18,000 per year.
“The amount of money given to me as an AFTRA member is like I’m getting paid $1 per hour,” she said. “It’s peanuts.”
The union is making it very difficult for her to do her job because of the “hope and trust” that the contract creates, she said. “The hope and trust they create is that a large number of people will be in favor of the contract, but what they�