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 following the news that the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, has passed in the House of Representatives.
“This past year has reminded us how vulnerable workers are, and this bill will give them much-needed power to join a union and protect themselves,” said Brandon Lorenz, national director of communications and public policy for Actors’ Equity Association. “Theatre workers know that being in a union provides access to better wages and safety standards, and with the PRO Act, more workers, including in the arts, will be able to organize. We are grateful for the bipartisan support for the PRO Act in the House and we urge the Senate to pass it as soon as possible.”
The PRO Act includes several measures that fight back against union-busting tactics by employers and strengthens the National Labor Relations Act. It cracks down on employee misclassification, a tactic commonly used by employers in the arts sector to improperly classify workers as independent contractors, depriving them of basic rights like a minimum wage, unemployment insurance and workers' compensation.
It also prohibits the practice of some employers holding mandatory anti-organizing meetings for their staff and allows workers to file civil complaints against employers for violating their NLRB rights. The bill strengthens protections for workers who go on strike, and overrides so-called right-to-work laws.
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
March 10, 2021