March 1, 2004
Equity Extends Communications, Services For Equity Membership Candidates (EMCs)
Unique, Highly Effective Program Provides “On The Job” Training In Professional Equity Theatres
New ID Cards, Newsletter Will Close Information Gap, Draw Candidates Closer to Equity - Positive Connection Emphasized
At its meeting of Tuesday, February 17, 2004, the Council of Actors’ Equity approved the recommendations of the Entry to Equity Committee to extend communications and services to current Equity Membership Candidates (EMCs). In an effort to bridge the “information gap” and strengthen their connection to the Union, Equity will provide EMC identification cards and publish a ‘Welcome to Equity’ newsletter for all new candidates. The Union will also propose language into its collectively-bargained agreements “requiring theatres to abide by all the applicable provisions of the EMC program as established by Equity.”
“The EMC program is a unique, highly effective apprentice program that permits actors and stage managers-in-training to credit theatrical work in certain Equity theatres towards eventual membership in Equity,” explained Rob Roznowski and Don Hill, Equity staff members who developed the new initiatives. “Once an Equity Membership Candidate has acquired 50 weeks of work credit, they become eligible to join the Union. Currently, there are over 300 Equity theatres that offer the EMC program.”
Equity Executive Director Alan Eisenberg said it is important to reach out to EMCs: “We’ve found out that candidates often feel left out, or neglected by the Union, and communications is a key part of that perception. EMCs are our future members, and it is important that they have a positive connection with Equity as they pursue their professional careers.”
Equity currently has 7500 registered EMCs who have been active in the past five years. In 2003, there were 792 new candidates. In the same season, 111 enrolled EMCs joined Equity by completing the program and 682 candidates joined by signing an Equity contract. In 2002, there were new 850 candidates. 190 candidates joined Equity by completing the program and 682 joined via contract. “This demonstrates how effectively the EMC program is working,” said Hill.
To register for the program, an actor (or stage manager) must first secure a qualifying position at an Equity theatre that offers the Membership Candidate (EMC) program. They then file an application form with their registration fee (currently $100) and are enrolled in the program. At this point, the new ID card will be issued by the Equity regional office that administers the contract for that theatre.
EMCs will also receive a newsletter, which will communicate news about the program, participating theatres, discounts and other information. The newsletter will be mailed to all new EMCs and will be available on Equity’s website, www.actorsequity.org. Announcements will be published in Equity News and on the website when the program is launched.
“We learned that many EMCs feel ‘out of the loop,’ that they don’t hear from us and that their first encounter with Equity is a negative experience,” said Equity Councillor Kevin McMahon, who chairs the Entry to Equity Committee. “The Committee’s recommendations address those issues in an attempt to make Equity a more welcoming place.”