Off-Broadway refers to theatres and producers, both commercial and not-for-profit, who are members of the Off-Broadway League. This includes: Atlantic Theatre Company, New York Theatre Workshop, Playwrights Horizons, The Public Theatre, Signature Theatre Company, Classic Stage Company, Irish Repertory Theatre, MCC Theatre, The New Group, Primary Stages, Vineyard Theatre, Ars Nova, Labrynth Theatre Company, WP Theatre, and select commercial producers. If you are unsure if your production is an Off-Broadway production, ask your designer.
C. B. A.
A collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is a written legal contract between an employer (or employer group such as the Off-Broadway League) and a union that represents some or all employees. The CBA is the result of an extensive negotiation process between the parties regarding topics such as wages, hours, and terms and conditions of employment. The terms agreed to in the CBA apply to anyone who does the work that’s defined as being "within the scope" of the agreement. The scope of the USA829 Off-Broadway CBA is "theatrical design work for shows produced by Off-Broadway League members."
A cover sheet is a single page document which represents the entire CBA. for the purposes of hiring a designer to a production. When a designer is hired, the producer prepares a cover sheet which outlines the specifics of the job (start date, end date, pay details, producer's name, designer's name, etc.) and then the producer, the designer, and the union all sign it. Once triply-signed, the cover sheet is "executed" which means it is in effect. You should never begin work until you have an executed cover sheet in hand. Having a cover sheet is the simplest way to be assured that the terms of your employment are covered by the CBA.
A rider is a set of terms and conditions which “ride along” with a cover sheet, allowing the employer and employee to add additional terms to their individual agreement. For example, an employer may wish to specify certain rehearsals or meeting dates that the designer must attend. A designer may wish to specify a "kit fee," which is money paid to the designer on top of the design fee to cover the use of the designer's personal tools like their laptop, their Vectorworks license, etc.
Most CBAs (including the Off-Broadway CBA) allow riders, but nothing in the rider is allowed to preclude or contradict any part of the CBA.
United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829, IATSE, is a labor union and professional association of designers, artists, craftspeople, and department coordinators, organized to protect craft standards, working conditions and wages for the entertainment and decorative arts industries. The members of Local USA 829 work in film, theatre, opera, ballet, television, industrial shows, commercials and exhibitions. The current active membership totals over 5,000.
The Membership Candidate (MC) program is a way for people who are not yet members of USA 829 to work under the terms of the Off-Broadway CBA and enjoy all of its protections and benefits. Additionally, it allows people to work towards union membership at a discounted rate and earn money towards union healthcare by assisting on Off-Broadway shows. See more info here.
The Off-Broadway Assistant Designer Advisory Group is a group of Off-Broadway assistants that formed to advise USA 829 on assistant designers' goals and needs during the 2021 contract negotiations with the Off-Broadway League. Also, they made this website.