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The Creative Economy

As New York’s creative economy evolves to keep pace with rapid growth of digital media and other changes, traditional unions in the entertainment industry face new challenges, according to ILR’s Worker Institute.

As a result, the need for arts and entertainment industry unions to develop and share innovative strategies to represent and advocate for workers in the sector has emerged, institute researchers said.  

A daylong roundtable on these issues was held this month at ILR’s Conference Center in New York City.

Union leaders, activists, policymakers, academics, and arts and entertainment workers discussed changes in the industry and the challenges of representing its workers.  

While research on industry trends and economic impacts is available, attendees said, primary research among members of the emerging workforce and organizations focused on representing and protecting their interests is lacking.

The Worker Institute’s research project “Strengthening New York’s Emerging Arts and Entertainment Workforce” aims to fill that gap. It is one of a number of the institute’s New York state-focused initiatives.

As a main component of the project is research examining the socio-economic and demographic indicators of New York’s arts and entertainment workforce.

The institute said it hopes the research generates insights and policy proposals to help unions respond more effectively to changes brought on by technological innovation, a rapidly changing industry and an increasing level of non-union labor.   

A research report and analysis on state of the industry through the lens of the emerging workforce has been published. It will result in the development of five case studies based on the experiences of five different sectors of the early-career workforce in the New York City arts and entertainment industry.  

The research will inform development of an interactive training curriculum on innovative practices and strategies to assist unions and other workforce organizations.

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