New York -- Actors’ Equity Association, the national labor union representing more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers in live theatre, has issued a statement in response to both the House and the Senate voting to pass the American Rescue Plan Act.

“This pandemic has been especially brutal on arts workers; most of us have been unemployed for a year now, and are desperate to get back to work the moment it’s safe. In the meantime, the need for relief is real and urgent,” said Kate Shindle, president of Actors’ Equity Association. “This passage shows us that it's possible to provide meaningful assistance to American workers during a crisis, and that we have to continue raising our voices. We are so grateful to the members of Congress who saw this through - including Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer - and of course to President Biden, who has championed this crucial legislation.” 

This aid package includes: 

  • Increased tax credits under the Affordable Care Act that will reduce health care costs for low and middle income families.  

  • COBRA subsidies through September 30, 2021 that will cover 100% of premiums.  

  • Additional health care subsidies for those who are ineligible for COBRA.  

  • $135 million each for the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities for supplemental COVID relief grants.  

  • Extended temporary federal unemployment benefits through August 29, 2021, with a supplemental $400 per week.  

  • Additional relief checks for all Americans earning under $75,000. 

Many of these provisions have been at the top of Equity’s policy agenda for months, including a COBRA subsidy at a time members are losing union health insurance and increased arts funding to help the theatre industry survive.

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  

March 10, 2021