Posted May 21, 2007
By Chorus Councilor Joanne Borts and National Director, Organizing & Special Projects, Flora Stamatiades
What is this series?
It's about Choices. We hope to show Equity members how easy -and practical- it is to shop for Union-Made products and services. And just as many of us are making 'Green' or 'Organic' choices these days, we can make Union choices as well.
Through this series in Equity News, we hope to illustrate how shopping for hotels, airfares, restaurants, clothes, electronics, phone and internet services, and so on, can be simple, cost-effective and Union. Many of us don't realize that we can incorporate our Equity (and/or SAG & AFTRA) affiliation into our daily lives. But in fact, many of the businesses we deal with every day may also employ union members.
Why should I care?
As Consumers, we have power - and we can effect change every time we send another dollar into the economy. We also send strong messages to economists, policy makers and government officials when we support businesses that treat their workers with respect and dignity. Just as our Equity work is supported by ticket buyers who choose Equity shows over non-Equity, we can support brother and sister union members by choosing union businesses over non-union. We merit the right to ask other unions and their members to support us by attending our shows, speaking out for us in campaigns, and using our members should they produce a show, to name a few, when they see visible support of their work by our community.
Why does Equity care?
As a labor union, Equity is part of a larger community of like-minded union members. We strive to develop and maintain alliances with other unions because we share so many of the same goals. Every choice to 'buy union' strengthens the ability of union members to maintain their relationship with their employers, and to ensure contracts that offer appropriate salaries, benefits, and working conditions.
What can I do?
Spend money wisely. It's really very easy. We will be offering you resources and information that allow you to choose Union businesses every day. For example: when you choose the United States Postal Service or UPS instead of Federal Express, you support Union work, fair wages and safe working conditions. And all you had to do was send that fruit cake to your Great Aunt Sadie! We will also offer you price comparisons so you can see that buying union can actually be cost-efficient.
Can I really make a difference?
Absolutely. You're talking with your wallet and that's the language of business in this country. While one person's choices make a small difference, the more people who make these choices, the larger the impact. There are over 45,000 Equity members, so yes, we really can make a difference.
Ok, not to be rude, but what's in it for me?
Well to start with, there are many discounts available to you in the Members Only section of our own website: www.actorsequity.org/Members/discountsmembers.asp. Sign in, click 'Member Benefits' up top, then Member Discounts' on the right and you'll see lots of businesses that support Equity by providing discounted products and services! How easy was that?
I'm hooked, tell me more!
… stay tuned!! In the next article in this series, we will show you how to travel "union-supported" and not break the bank. (We'll even save you some money along the way!)