Author Topic: Do you agree with Equity representing Stage Managers  (Read 7782 times)

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BLee

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Do you agree with Equity representing Stage Managers
« on: Jan 26, 2008, 11:51 pm »
Alright, so this is a never ending debate amongst the stage managers I've talked to who have working professionally for years:

Should Equity represent SMs?

One half says they have improved benefits greatly for SMs and since the SM and Deputy work closely together it makes sense that they should deal with the same union. Also, on this side of the debate, is the relationship SMs should have with actors on an equality basis.

On the other side, many say that IATSE or another stage hand union should be the main representation. Even further, I've heard that some believe Stage Managers should have their own union (or branch of a technical union) that would represent all branches of Stage Management (SM, ASM, PA, etc). Some on this side have said SMs are overshadowed by the actors in Actor's Equity and are sometimes taken advantage of by the contracts used.

Personally, I'm still sorting things out and investigating the paperwork and information on Equity right now and are not informed enough to develop my own opinion yet, but I am curious what others think. If you don't like Equity and think another union represents SMs better please let me know so I can investigate them as well.
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MatthewShiner

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Re: Do you agree with Equity representing Stage Managers
« Reply #1 on: Jan 27, 2008, 12:22 am »
Just by the size of what the union would be - I don't think an exclusive stage management union would have the collective bargaining power as being attached to other unions.

I would be intrigued to see how a stage manager would be represented by IATSE; I have never had anyone paint a scenario I would get behind.

Being in AEA I think it is not the worst thing on the planet.  I feel our hours and working conditions are so closely tied with performers, that in the end - having stage managers being in the same union as the performers (AEA, AGVA, AGMA, etc, etc) makes sense.  AEA is not the strongest union in the world, but I do think it serves the purpose.

I could see us getting in line with the Directors Guild - but again, I think we would lose power at that point.
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Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

VSM

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Re: Do you agree with Equity representing Stage Managers
« Reply #2 on: Jan 27, 2008, 12:51 pm »
"Some on this side have said SMs are overshadowed by the actors in Actor's Equity and are sometimes taken advantage of by the contracts used."


As a Stage Manager Councilor for the Western Region of Actors Equity Association, I feel we are very well represented on the Council of our Union. Ask a Councilor; Stage Manager, Principal or Chorus and they will tell you the word equity is quite appropriate when it comes to the decisions made. These are the people who take the time out of their day and career to represent you, the Equity member. And we do it for free.

I agree with Matthew that AEA is the best place for us to have the collective bargaining power available to us. We work and live with the actors in all our productions and a different Union or set of work rules would simply not serve the purpose of creating the best work we can. Together.

Yes.
I think that Equity should represent Stage Managers.
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RuthNY

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Re: Do you agree with Equity representing Stage Managers
« Reply #3 on: Jan 27, 2008, 11:39 pm »
I have to agree completely with everything Vernon and Matt have already said, I am quite comfortable with SM's being part of AEA.  Like Vernon, I am able to witness and participate in the process of government first-hand, and have never had any reason to think SM's should pull out of the Union.  Our views are heard and respected.

And let me just say this, if you think that SM's are "are sometimes taken advantage of by the contracts used" then get thee to a committee meeting and become part of the process yourself!

Ruth

Eastern Region Stage Manager Councilor




"Some on this side have said SMs are overshadowed by the actors in Actor's Equity and are sometimes taken advantage of by the contracts used."


As a Stage Manager Councilor for the Western Region of Actors Equity Association, I feel we are very well represented on the Council of our Union. Ask a Councilor; Stage Manager, Principal or Chorus and they will tell you the word equity is quite appropriate when it comes to the decisions made. These are the people who take the time out of their day and career to represent you, the Equity member. And we do it for free.

I agree with Matthew that AEA is the best place for us to have the collective bargaining power available to us. We work and live with the actors in all our productions and a different Union or set of work rules would simply not serve the purpose of creating the best work we can. Together.

Yes.
I think that Equity should represent Stage Managers.

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Scott (formerly Digga)

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Re: Do you agree with Equity representing Stage Managers
« Reply #4 on: Feb 18, 2008, 01:00 pm »
I'll jump on the bandwagon here and agree with the 3 above.  We just work too closely with the actors schedule that to be in a different union would just add other conflicts.  Things like break times alone would be an issue as I know IATSE follows a different schedule completely.  They can't work more than 5 hours in a row without OT which would be a problem on the 6-Hour Rehearsal block.  Not only that, there are a lot of theatres out there that are AEA but no IATSE.  So many Regional theatres don't use IATSE crews.  Wouldn't that put a lot of Union SMs out of work? 

HRKelly

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Re: Do you agree with Equity representing Stage Managers
« Reply #5 on: Mar 31, 2008, 07:00 pm »
It makes the most sense for Stage Managers to be in AEA. But I've been coming across an interesting dilemma for those interested in acting AND stage managing. The issue here is those wanting to do both but may not be qualified enough in one area to be granted the Equity status. For example. two colleagues of mine have acquired their Equity card as Stage Managers and live in NYC but their primary interest lies in acting and in that area, they still have far to go and if they want to act now, they're stuck looking only at Equity gigs. I wondered: What if Equity divided itself in a way so that you can join as an Equity SM or Equity Actor and if you want to work as both, perhaps an extra fee is attached or something ... anyway, food for thought ... just putting it out there  :)

loebtmc

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Re: Do you agree with Equity representing Stage Managers
« Reply #6 on: Apr 04, 2008, 02:24 am »
(just a note on the IA rules - I have followed these rules in at lesat 4 states but perhaps they are different where digga is.....)

IA requires a meal break after 5 hours UNLESS 6 hours is the full day. But they will walk out the door - or be in OT and meal penalties - as soon as the 6th hour hits

centaura

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Re: Do you agree with Equity representing Stage Managers
« Reply #7 on: Apr 04, 2008, 09:34 am »
Quote
IA requires a meal break after 5 hours UNLESS 6 hours is the full day.

It depends on the contract.  The contract that we have locally says that the union has to have a meal break at 5 hours, no exceptions, or you go into meal penalty.  If they know they only need 6 hours, then they meal break the union after 4 hours and then get 2 hours after the break.  But there is no clause in our contact that lets them work for 6 hours without a meal break or meal penalty.

-Centaura

loebtmc

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Re: Do you agree with Equity representing Stage Managers
« Reply #8 on: Apr 04, 2008, 06:58 pm »
wow - thanks for the info - I have worked w IA crews in CA and AZ who assured me that rule was national, rather than individual contract-based (since not every gig I did was an AEA job) but I certainly have no issues being corrected (as I said, I didn't know) - also these are guys who do AEA theater all the time, so perhaps their local made appropriate adjustments to match...and see, I always thought our 6-hr rule was to match theirs.....

Thomas A. Kelly

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Re: Do you agree with Equity representing Stage Managers
« Reply #9 on: Apr 09, 2008, 01:58 pm »
If we were not in Equity, there would be no incentive for management to even recognize us much less give us decent pay. Also, the IATSE rules make no sense for SMs and the only power a union has is if its members respect the rules and conditions. Basically, if you do the job right, it would be impossible to work within IA rules, so you would become a bad union member and the steward would make you NOT DO YOUR JOB. Also, the one time SMA investigated they did not want us due to the fact that in Brit AEA, the stage managers do all the prop work, and they saw us clearly as a threat. AGMA has no clue what we do... most of the time in an AGMA negotiation period is bringing up to speed on what we do and what we need... No, Equity is where it is at.. without their clout, there would be one PSM and a bunch of volunteers or PAs or dancers/understudies as assistants, and the minimums would be a minimal...

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