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AEA President

From the President


Springtime for Equity
By Nick Wyman


March 26, 2014

AEA President Nick Wyman

President Nick Wyman
photo credit: newhartphoto.com

In spring, a young person's thoughts turn to love.  Or getting a summer stock job.  Not being a particularly young person, my thoughts normally turn to fantasy baseball.  This year my thoughts have turned to those even less-young than I, partially due to a couple of New Yorker pieces by Roger Angell and Roz Chast and to a conversation about end-of-life choices with my stepmother and my 92-year-old Dad (who actually belongs to a lunch club with the 93-year-old Mr. Angell).

Preparing for the future, and old age in particular, is important. I have written before ("Three Requests") about pensions and planning for the future.  In the space of a couple of weeks, I have met with the Executive Council of the AFL-CIO, a group of a dozen NY members-at-large hoping to encourage union participation and activism, and the Labor Committee of the Broadway League; and these meetings have prompted me to think about the future of another not-so-young entity:  Actors' Equity Association.

What will happen to AEA?  Unionism -- as was clear from the AFL-CIO meeting -- is on the decline and under unprecedented attack both from conservative politicians and from employers and business groups.  We need to make the case to employers, to future members and to the public-at-large that we are the good guys, as I did in an address to the IATSE national convention last year.

Few industries and few employers are as union-friendly as Broadway and the Broadway League:  almost every employee in a Broadway theatre is on a union contract. The profits of a Broadway mega-hit may make these labor costs relatively palatable, but the financial difficulties of the Road and particularly of the not-for-profit LORT- and SPT-contract theatres make those employers eager to reduce their labor costs.  In the face of employer efforts to hire fewer or cheaper workers, the eternal question at AEA -- More Jobs or More Compensation? -- remains at the forefront of every Councillor's conscience.

The dozen grassroots activists are a good sign.  I, too, want the membership of AEA to participate more in their union.  I don't want (and we don't need) 50,000 members to run for Council, but I do want 50,000 members to educate themselves about the business, about the issues, about the candidates and then to vote next month.  Around the age of 100, humans like Roger Angell and my Dad are pretty frail; but I don't think 100 years puts AEA into our dotage.  I think we are in our prime.  I am looking to you -- particularly our younger members -- to learn, to participate and to vote and to carry us forward into an ever more vigorous and glorious next 100 years.


Contact President Nick Wyman at president@actorsequity.org.

 

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From the President Archives:

Resource-Full

Keeping the Faith

Substantive Work

At the Big Table

What in the Heck am I Doing?

Telling Our Story

Why I Do Theatre

You Have a Dream

Abundance and Gratitude

When Good Shows Go Bad

Make Your Own Luck

Mentor Up. Mentor Down.

Mentor Up. Mentor Down.

Work Art and "Work"

CashCowasaurus vs. CatchMeasaurus

Can I Get Some Service Here?

Touring 101 or How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Touring 102 - A Look at the Business Model of Touring

Exit, Gracefully, a Champion

Happy 100th Birthday

The Five C's

Love and Boundaries

Plenary Panoply

Which Side Are You On?

March 24, 2011
Marching in Madison

March 1, 2011
A Vision for All of Us

February 2, 2011
Three Requests

December 16, 2010
Earn Your "MBA"

November 4, 2010
Deputize Yourself

September 1, 2010
The Fall of the Twin Tiers

July 27, 2010
Mosaic

June 21, 2010
Thank You

Long-time Councillor Nick Wyman is elected the President of Actors' Equity Association

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