Chicago— Actors’ Equity Association, the national labor union representing more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers in live theatre, has released a statement in response to Missouri being among the first states to terminate its federal pandemic unemployment program early.

“This policy completely ignores the fact that many jobs in the arts sector have not returned," said Andrea Hoeschen, Central Regional director for Actors' Equity Association. "If our members in Missouri could go back to work, they would not hesitate. Theatres that have been closed for over a year need time to prepare for reopening, to say nothing of the fact that the public is not yet ready to attend live events in full force. Our members need the unemployment program to carry them through the coming months as the industry returns in fits and starts.”

Background: Equity is currently urging an extension of federal pandemic unemployment insurance past its proposed September expiration date. Equity has been advocating for expanded unemployment benefits since the beginning of the pandemic, when it successfully fought for the CARES Act PUI to include future lost work and then for mixed-income PUI in the HEROES Act. Most recently, the union also pushed for the extension of pandemic unemployment benefits in the American Rescue Plan Act.

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   

June 9, 2021