New York -- The National Council for Actors' Equity Association has resolved to grant an extension of the current basic dues cycle in the face of the current large-scale loss of work faced by members. The $87 spring basic dues payment is customarily billed in May.
Under Council's direction, the May deadline has been extended to July 31, 2020. Late fees for basic dues and initiation fees that are accrued after April 1 will be waived through Nov. 30, 2020. Members who want more information can visit the member portal or contact the membership department, which continues to function while working remotely.
“I hope that Council’s changes will help relieve some of the burden on our members while the entire industry is essentially closed for business,” said Kate Shindle, President of Actors’ Equity Association. “That said, it is incredibly important that anyone who can pay their basic dues does so as soon as possible - whether wholly or partially - to keep the union strong and help preserve our core functions. Paying what you can will enable us to advocate for actors and stage managers right now in Congress. It will also reinforce our ability to continue negotiations with employers regarding current settlements, as well as when the industry restarts production.”
The move for dues relief by Equity’s national council follows unprecedented proactive action from the union to combat the coronavirus pandemic and the industry-wide shut down:
- Equity made its first public statement on March 2 that staff were making plans to prepare for a possible pandemic.
- Equity publicly called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to put worker safety first as the mayor considered whether to limit public gatherings to slow the spread of Coronavirus.
- Equity first made the public case for emergency relief for arts and entertainment workers on March 11, when news reports emerged that Washington state and others would limit public gatherings.
- Equity mobilized to partner with other arts and entertainment unions to make the case to key members of Congress that arts and entertainment workers must be protected during this health crisis. That work led to the inclusion of arts workers in the CARES Act, meaning Equity members have improved access to unemployment.
- Actors’ Equity President Kate Shindle made the case that Congress must include arts workers in a relief package on MSNBC.
- Equity launched the Curtain Up Fund to provide members with emergency financial relief.
- Staff are working to make sure all members nationwide are receive the benefits of their collective bargaining agreements during this critical time. Equity also joined with the Coalition of Broadway Unions to negotiate shutdown pay and health contributions for members working on Broadway.
- Equity asked producers to put members health and safety first and postpone Equity EPAs and ECCs.
- Equity-League Benefit Funds waived the quarterly premium for health coverage beginning/continuing on May 1, June 1 and July 1.
- Equity partnered with the Coalition of Broadway Unions (COBUG) to seek relief for members in New York State, including assistance with COBRA payments for entertainment workers.
Normally, Equity operates through two types of dues: The first is working dues, 2.5% of gross earnings under Equity contract, which have almost completely dried up in the current crisis. The second is annual dues, totaling $174 annually, paid out as $87 in May and November.
Equity’s National Council is encouraging members who are able to do so to pay their dues on time to preserve the core functions of the union.
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. www.actorsequity.org #EquityWorks
April 3, 2020