I know this is a divisive issue, but I'm really struggling to understand why actors want to be paid less. Where I work in San Diego, most of the theatres are SPT, with 3 LORTs and a number that offer Guest Artist contracts. The union actors in my town are aghast that LA actors work for close to free. Why become a union member if you don't want to get paid a semi-decent wage? If you want to act or SM, great; but if you join the union, you should hold yourself to a higher standard and demand better pay and better rights. That's why you joined, isn't it? Becoming a member and then demanding to work for less than the minimum payouts is trying to have your cake and eat it, too.
I get it: producing plays is expensive, but theatres should pay their fair share. In the short term, yes, there will be less work for actors. But looking to the future, this forces theatres to budget smarter and hopefully will create better work environments for actors and stage managers.
Does anyone have some insight from the other side?