Collective Bargaining Agreements or CBAs are agreements negotiated collectively with one or more employers which set forth the minimum terms and conditions under which covered employees work. Employers who are signatory to a Collectively Bargained Agreement with USA 829 must conform to the minimum provisions of the negotiated agreement. In addition, most USA 829 Agreements allow for a Scenic Artist, Designer other covered employee to negotiate better terms and conditions” such as a higher pay rate. Under no circumstances should an employer ask you to work for less and you, as the employee, are not allowed to grant such a request. An employer must contact the Union and seek a written waiver to the CBA if they have a special request that differs from the terms of the CBA.

The terms and conditions of a CBA, including benefit payments, apply to everyone doing the work covered in the Agreement regardless of union membership. If someone working with you has been denied Union rates and benefits because they are not yet a member, call the office and speak to a Business Representative.

United Scenic Artists holds approximately 40 different CBAs with employers in scenic shops, theatre, film, television, opera and dance. Many complete agreements and up-to-date rate sheets are available for download, or upon request from the appropriate Union Business office. If you have a question about a particular provision in an agreement, call the Union Office and a Business Representative will help you.


Most of our CBAs in live performance areas require individual agreements to be filed for Designers and Assistant Designers on Union-provided forms called Coversheets. The Coversheet works with the CBA, and provides details on:

  • The project name
  • The fee or salary rate
  • The producer and venue information

Most of these Coversheet documents are available for download. The Producer or Theatre should present you with a Coversheet for signature. You should not begin work prior to having a Coversheet signed by the Producer and approved by the Business Office. It is the employer's responsibility to file the Coversheets with the appropriate Union Business Office, but it never hurts to check up on this situation yourself.


Many CBA’s in live performance also allow a Rider to be attached to the Coversheet and filed as part of the individual agreement. A Rider lays out specifics of the one-on-one agreement between the producer and the Designer including, but not limited to:

  • Dates for the production
  • Scheduling of the design and production process
  • Travel arrangements

All “better terms and conditions” for the Designer should be included in the Rider; including such things as "over scale payment" or right of first refusal. Rider language that contradicts or contravenes the CBA will be rejected by the Union.


In addition to our CBAs, individual USA 829 members may work for employers not covered by a CBA under a Union Project Agreement (UPA). There are two types of UPAs. Each has a mandatory form that must be filled out and submitted by the employer. Use of these agreements allows Designers to work for a multitude of theatre, dance, opera and industrial design companies throughout the United States. Scenic Artists should check with the appropriate Business Office before using a UPA. 


These are three promulgated - or Union-created, Agreements for specific types of projects: the Standard Designer's Agreement–Theatre, the Standard Designer's Agreement–Dance and the Standard Designer's Agreement–Opera. The Standard Designers Agreement Coversheets are used for a single job for which the employer agrees to adhere to the terms and conditions contained in the Standard Design Agreement. 


This most basic UPA is a one-page agreement covering a specific job for an employer not covered under a CBA. A Rider may be attached and made part of the agreement as long as the terms are acceptable to the Union.