New York -- Actors’ Equity Association – the national union for professional stage actors and stage managers working in live theatre – released the following statement regarding continued inaction in the U.S. Senate on the HEROES Act.
“What on earth is the Senate waiting for?” said Kate Shindle, President of Actors’ Equity Association. “Our members have lost the weekly $600 that was their lifeline. Those who have lost health care are struggling to pay for COBRA coverage. Arts institutions are on the brink of shuttering without arts funding. The Senate is standing in the way of literally life-saving aid. The Senate must act now and it should make the unemployment benefits retroactive to cover the lapse in payments.”
Federal unemployment assistance in the form of $600 a week expired at the end of July, which is why Equity has urged Congress to reinstate in the HEROES Act. The longer the Senate takes to pass this relief package, the longer Equity members and other workers go without the aid they have relied on for months. While some industries are reopening, for stage workers, their employment has overwhelmingly not returned.
The union is also calling for a 100% federal COBRA subsidy and $4 billion in emergency supplement public arts funding, particularly through the National Endowment for the Arts.
ACTORS' EQUITY ASSOCIATION, founded in 1913, is the U.S. labor union that represents more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers. Equity endeavors to advance the careers of its members by negotiating wages, improving working conditions and providing a wide range of benefits (health and pension included). Member: AFL-CIO, FIA. www.actorsequity.org #EquityWorks
August 7, 2020