New York – Actors’ Equity Association, the national labor union representing more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers in live theatre, has announced its support for the 11 hair and makeup artists for the Atlanta Opera who voted to join IATSE Local 798 with the following statement:  

“Now is the moment for the Atlanta Opera to do what is right. These brave workers are entitled to the fair wages and benefits, including health care, that a union secures. What is far more shameful is that the Atlanta Opera has denied a group of all Black artists their right to organize. These employers have not only refused to acknowledge the bargaining unit’s legitimacy, but retaliated against them. Such actions contradict the work of Atlanta Opera’s own EDI Task Force, which vows to ‘counteract bias, increase diversity and foster an inclusive climate.’ 

“Too many of our members of color have experienced hair and makeup discrimination at work, in part because there are so few technicians who share their backgrounds. This is a crucial time to ensure that every single area of the entertainment industry is diverse. Hiring Black workers but refusing to treat them equitably only exacerbates this crisis.” 

Background: Last year, Equity and other arts and entertainment unions put forth a legislative agenda to combat inequity in the industry. The federal passage of the CROWN Act was a crucial item on that list. 

Also last year, Equity’s council approved the “Hair Texture as a Protected Characteristic” resolution, which mandates Equity to bring “hair texture” to the protected characteristics in the anti-discrimination clause of all negotiations going forward.

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 4, 2022