Author Topic: Pros and Cons of Equity/unions  (Read 3719 times)

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Pros and Cons of Equity/unions
« on: Apr 28, 2005, 01:33 pm »
I'm doing a research project on how Equity/unions affect the theatre world today.  Obviously, when they first were established, they ensured fair treatment of actors, prevented abuse of power, etc.  But I'm wondering (as someone who has no experience whatsoever with them) what people's reactions are to their effectiveness.  This can apply to both actors and techies.  I'm also not limiting responses to those who are currently in a union.  Here are a few questions to get some responses/answers flowing: Is Equity/unions doing what it was originally intended to do?  What are positive aspects of them?  What are negative aspects of them?  Do they help or hinder good and successful theatre?  Are they useful or more of an annoyance?  These are just a few questions.  If you have more opinions other than what I've listed here, by all means speak up!  I'm not trying to ruffle feathers...I'm just trying to gauge general feelings.  Also, if you post a response, can I quote you in my research paper?  I can definitely keep it anonymous (such as, "Equity is the best organization in the world" says an Equity SM) but I would like to know if I can quote you.  Thanks!!


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Pros and Cons of Equity/unions
« Reply #1 on: Apr 29, 2005, 11:23 am »
I believe very much in my Union and feel it is essential to the working Actor and Stage Manager for the following reasons, which are merely a few reppresentative items...

1.  MINIMUM SALARY. The Union fought to make sure that there is a minimum under which producers cannot go.

2. ADDITIONAL DUTIES PAY.  More work? More money...


4. PENSION plan. And a 401K plan. Do you have additional plans for your retirement?
5. You are covered under WORKERS' COMPENSATION INSURANCE if you should be hurt while on the job.

 6. The Producer pays into an UNEMPLOYMENT FUND. When your job ends, more often than not you can collect Unemployment.

7. We make sure that FILMING and TAPING have very strict rules and provisions for payment. Once again, more work? More money.

 8. WORK RULES.  We make sure that Producers can’t work you 24/7. We fight to make sure you get enough sleep.

9. SAFE AND SANITARY CONDITIONS.  We make sure you have them. Things like hot and cold running water, a half-way decent dressing room, restroom facilities that you don’t have to share with the audience. We make sure that you don’t spend your offstage time killing cockroaches, striking the set or sweeping the floors.

 10. BONDING.  All Producers must post a security bond with the Union. That way, if the Producer defaults or is unwilling or unable to pay you, if you have signed your contract and turned it into the Union office, we have arranged for you to receive two weeks minimum salary.

11. We are constantly creating NEW CONTRACTS that allow you different opportunities to work at home and on the road.

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not to mention...
« Reply #2 on: Apr 29, 2005, 01:02 pm »
Remember why Equity was created in the first place when you ask if they do what they were intended to do:
Producers didn't pay actors for rehearsals, only for performing... and they might rehearse a show for MONTHS and then open and play a week.  Result?  You got paid for the week.  If they folded the show without opening, you got bupkis for your time.

Yeah, they do what they're intending to do... and yes, you may quote me.


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Pros and Cons of Equity/unions
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2005, 08:56 pm »
Having worked non union for a while, as well as ameature - I can tell you now - non union can be the pits for SM's -

ie that lighting plot starting at 4pm, after focus, which is scheduled to finish at 7pm, often ends up going till 4am in the morning - now as SM, I ensure I am there from start to finish of that day - and the fact that I have a sound plot the next morning at 7am, means that I drive home from  the theatre, and basically get to bed by 5. Then I have to wake up a 6 to get to the theatre by seven, and what is in my pay cheque - standard 9-5 pay. Sure it evens out a little bit - I may get 9-5 pay for some days where I ONLY do 4 hours in the afternoon - it depends how dedicated you are - I love stage managing, and tech week in general, so I am happy to sleep on the crash mats in the theatre to get the extra 2 hours sleep.  I would break the union rules with the hours I do - currently I do quite a bit of ameature work, which is usually a bit better - they are usually booted out by venue techs at midnight.


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