Actors' Equity Association (“Equity"), founded in 1913, is the U.S. labor union that represents more than 51,000 professional Actors and Stage Managers. Equity fosters the art of live theatre as an essential component of society and advances the careers of its members by negotiating wages, improving working conditions and providing a wide range of benefits, including health and pension plans. Actors' Equity is a member of the AFL-CIO and is affiliated with FIA, an international organization of performing arts unions.
Equity is governed by its own members through an elected Council, representing principal actors, chorus actors and stage managers living in three regions: Eastern, Central and Western. Members at large participate in Equity’s governance through a system of regional Boards and Committees. Equity has 28 designated area liaison cities with over 100 members each.
President: Kate Shindle
Executive Director: Mary McColl
Membership: Over 51,000 members, including singers, actors, dancers, stage managers
Founded: May 26, 1913, in New York City
Offices: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Orlando
Among the benefits that may be included in Equity contracts are:
- Minimum salaries, including overtime, pay for additional duties, housing and/or per diem while touring
- Health insurance and pension plan, 401(k), supplemental workers’ compensation insurance
- Contract negotiation and administration
- Work rules, vacation and sick pay
- Bonding to guarantee salaries, benefits
- Job access
- Dispute resolution
- Just cause (penalties for improper dismissal)
Contracts: Equity negotiates and promulgates over 40 national and local contracts including Production (Broadway and touring), LORT (League of Resident Theatres), Stock, Small Professional Theatre (SPT), Western Civic Light Opera (WCLO), Dinner Theatre, Theatre for Young Audiences, Live Corporate Communications, Off-Broadway, Chicago and Hollywood Area Theatres, and numerous agreements for developing not-for-profit theatres.
Additional benefits afforded to members include:
- Tax assistance through Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program
- Advocacy for arts funding and legislation benefiting performing artists, non-traditional casting
- Access to Actors Federal Credit Union, providing free checking, credit and debit cards, mortgages, car loans and more
Service Organizations: Equity supports many service organizations including The Actors Fund, the Career Center, Actors Federal Credit Union, Artists Health Insurance Resource Center, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Career Transition For Dancers, the Conrad Cantzen Shoe Fund, Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative, The Actors Fund Home and The Samuel J. Friedman Health Center for the Performing Arts.
- AFL-CIO/DPE (Department of Professional Employees)
- FIA (Federation Internationale des Acteurs)
- Associated Actors and Artistes of America (4A's)