Former AFL-CIO General Counsel Lynn Rhinehart Joins Actors’ Equity Association as Special Counsel

Actors’ Equity Association has announced that Lynn Rhinehart has been named Special Counsel, effective immediately.

For nearly a decade, Rhinehart served as General Counsel for the AFL-CIO, becoming the first woman to serve in that capacity.  She joined the AFL-CIO Legal Department in 1996.  Rhinehart, who has represented the AFL-CIO before Congress, Courts and Federal agencies, is a leading national expert in union-side labor law.

“Lynn’s unsurpassed experience will help our leadership team as we move forward with the Equity 2020 mission to build a union that is more aggressive, inclusive and responsive,” said Mary McColl, Executive Director Actors’ Equity Association. “Lynn will provide invaluable guidance to Equity as we represent all 51,000 Equity members across the country.”

"With Equity members organizing stronger contracts in greater numbers than ever before, this is an exciting time to join Actor’s Equity and I’m thrilled to be a part of the drive to create a stronger union,” said Rhinehart.

Rhinehart received her Juris Doctor from Georgetown University. She currently serves on the advisory board of Harvard Law School’s Clean Slate Project, which is dedicated to making recommendations to reform labor law, and on the board of the National Employment Law Project.  Rhinehart is also a Senior Fellow at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., with a focus on unions and collective bargaining.

Cohen, Weiss & Simon LLP will remain Outside Legal Counsel to Equity.

Launched in 2017, Equity 2020 is a mission to create a forward-looking union that is more aggressive about organizing paid work opportunities for members, inclusive in reaching out to all members of the Union and responsive when members have problems in the workplace. A record number of Equity members endorsed the 2020 vision in a referendum that concluded in September 2017.

Since Equity 2020 was launched, Equity reached an historic new show development contract with the Broadway League that includes higher wages and profit participation. Before that, Equity reached an agreement with LORT that had raises of 16 to 81.7 percent, reached a first-ever agreement to use a full Equity agreement on a cruise ship, and reached agreements for new regional theatre contracts in Boston, Chicago and the Bay Area, all of which included higher wages and additional contracts. Equity members also succeeded in achieving stronger local public arts funding in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. two of Equity’s 28 Liaison Areas.

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 12, 2019