New York— 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 reports that at least 23 states are choosing to terminate their federal pandemic unemployment insurance programs far before their current scheduled expiration of September 6, 2021, potentially affecting nearly 2 million Americans, disproportionately workers of color

“The performance community is still experiencing mass unemployment due to no fault of our own," said Kate Shindle, president of Actors' Equity Association. "The federal unemployment supplement is not discouraging these Americans from going back to work. For politicians to push this false narrative is offensive. Live event workers, including our members, have overwhelmingly not been called back to work and will not resume full employment for at least several months. This pandemic is not over, the public’s willingness to attend live events and the future of international tourism is uncertain, and we need our governments to recognize this reality as this industry works to rebuild and restore jobs.” 

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  

May 24, 2021