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 an agreement being reached on the New York State’s new budget, which includes renewing its COBRA subsidy program with $2 million funding. 

“On behalf of our members in New York, we are so grateful to the state legislature for this much-needed aid to cover COBRA and allow our workers to stay on union insurance,” said Kate Shindle, president of Actors’ Equity Association. “Equity stage managers and actors earn their health insurance one week of work at a time, and many of them have been unemployed for over a year. The theatre industry is just beginning to return, but we’re a long way from normal, and our members still need protection.” 

Background: Equity has been advocating for a full federal COBRA subsidy for a year, which finally passed in the American Rescue Plan Act. However, that subsidy is set to expire in September 2021. The New York subsidy will dramatically lower the cost of COBRA for state residents through the end of 2021. 

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

April 9, 2021