New York – Actors' Equity Association, the national labor union representing professional actors and stage managers in live theatre, released the following statement for International Stage Management Day on October 10, honoring the indispensable work that stage managers do on any theatrical production.
“Today we celebrate the stage managers, who are an indispensable part of making sure the show goes on. 100 years ago, stage managers became an official part of Actors’ Equity Association,” said Ira Mont, 3rd vice president of Actors’ Equity Association. “This International Stage Management Day, Actors’ Equity is fighting harder than ever for stage managers, who are having their wages and health care put at risk. The minimum we deserve is recognition, and compensation for our work.”
Stage managers have always been a part of Equity; in fact, 2020 is the centennial of their first formal inclusion in the union as a distinct group, and they are entitled to the same benefits as Equity actors.
Early on during the pandemic, Equity created temporary COVID-19 remote work agreements for longtime Equity employers based on employers’ existing collective bargaining agreements, all of which include health and pension contributions. From March through September, these agreements resulted in more than 3,400 work weeks, generating $2.5 million in earnings and more than $670,000 in contributions to the health fund.
However, members reported to Equity that SAG-AFTRA began signing agreements with Equity employers that undercut the Equity terms and conditions. In some cases, Equity stage mangers have been excluded entirely, had their contracts revoked or been offered work as independent contractors without workers’ compensation protections, more necessary than ever during a global pandemic. In addition, the union has estimated members have lost $154,000 in contributions to the Equity-League health fund.
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
October 9, 2020