Tell SAG-AFTRA: Stop Undercutting Contracts for Stage Managers and Actors

Tell SAG-AFTRA: Stop Undercutting Contracts for Stage Managers and Actors

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AEA Members started this petition to SAG-AFTRA and

TO: SAG-AFTRA Leadership

We write to you today as union members (some of us as members of both SAG-AFTRA and Actors’ Equity Association) but, more importantly, as creative professionals who are suffering an unprecedented crisis. Specifically, many of us are Stage Managers represented by Actors’ Equity Association, who come to you as union members, in solidarity. We implore you to reconsider your current practice of entering into agreements with longtime bargaining partners of Actors’ Equity while in-person performance is not safe. We have great respect for our unions’ relationship, but we are being utterly left behind by this practice.

During this pandemic while live theater is closed, our union has worked with our longstanding employers to find ways to keep theater alive, to keep stage managers and actors working, and to bring theater to audiences. Equity has utilized media agreements, which have existed for years, to cover this work. These agreements require employers to make health and pension contributions, and they cover both stage managers and actors.  

Many of us could qualify for health insurance or maintain our coverage this year if we could earn weeks working for Actors’ Equity bargaining partners during the pandemic. You have unilaterally taken this opportunity away from both stage managers and actors. And in some cases, you have cost stage managers our jobs. A number of stage managers had confirmed work under Equity contracts, and when the projects were moved to a SAG-AFTRA agreement, we were let go, losing those wages and expected benefit accrual. At best, we are forced to work without the benefit of a contract and have no union protections or benefits for these jobs. For a union to take away union members’ ability to work and obtain benefits--especially health insurance--during a pandemic is shocking and disheartening.

Theatrical Stage Managers and Actors who would otherwise be earning health weeks on an Equity contract will likely never meet the threshold of earnings to qualify for health insurance under SAG-AFTRA--something we do regularly under Equity. We are concerned how these agreements can possibly have sufficient safety protocols to protect a full company during a pandemic considering that they leave out stage managers and their safety completely. The arts are under threat like never before. Now is a time for us to all stand together in solidarity and support each other as creative professionals. Respectfully, we ask that you allow Actors’ Equity to continue to cover the work that our employers are creating during this shutdown so that we might continue to earn benefits and have union protections. Don’t leave us unprotected and without work during a national health emergency that has left unemployment almost absolute and our industry devastated.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!
At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!