New York-- Actors’ Equity Association, the national labor union representing more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers in live theatre, has released the following statement after the Associated Press has named the Biden/Harris ticket winners of the 2020 election.

“Joe Biden will be the most consequential president for the arts industry in a generation,” said Mary McColl, executive director of Actors’ Equity Association. “At a time when live entertainment is still largely dark because of the coronavirus, we will finally have a partner in the White House who will create a national strategy to bring the pandemic under control and put everyone in the arts back to work. Until then, we need to reinstate pandemic unemployment so that displaced workers can pay their bills, increase arts funding and finally pass a COBRA subsidy to make health insurance affordable as unemployment stretches on.”

Equity has been advocating for the HEROES Act since it was first introduced, which includes $10 billion in emergency arts funding as well as $135 million in funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. It has stalled in the Senate.

“The members of this union were proud to do our part,” said Kate Shindle, president of Actors’ Equity Association. “We mobilized to elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris at a desperate time for the theatre and everyone who works in the arts. I am so moved by the dedication of our actors and stage managers. They volunteered so much time and energy to electing a president who cares about workers every single day, and will be laser focused on getting us safely back to work in the wake of this unprecedented pandemic and months-long shutdown.” 

Following Equity’s endorsement of the Biden-Harris ticket, Equity members enthusiastically phone banked in the weeks leading up to the election. These volunteers spoke on the phone with constituents for 7150 minutes (over 119 hours) -- long enough to see Angels in America 16 times.

Kamala Harris is the first woman, as well as the first Black person and first Asian American, to become Vice President of the United States. Kamala Harris has earned a position previously seen as out-of-reach for so many, an inspiring and path-breaking win.

Vice President Biden's victory is more urgent than ever. The week of the president election marked a record high for coronavirus cases in the United States, including two days with over 100,000 new cases reported. The Biden administration will not only offer aid that will protect workers, but create a comprehensive plan for combatting the virus, shortening the duration of the shutdown of entertainment and other industries and saving the lives of countless Americans.

ACTORS' EQUITY ASSOCIATION, founded in 1913, is the U.S. labor union that represents more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers. Equity endeavors to advance the careers of its members by negotiating wages, improving working conditions and providing a wide range of benefits (health and pension included). Member: AFL-CIO, FIA.  #EquityWorks

November 7, 2020