Actors’ Equity, whose membership has been jobless since the COVID-19 shutdown of live theaters across the country, is offering dues relief to those members who need it. The union’s $87 spring basic dues payment, customarily billed in May, has been extended to July 31, and late fees for basic dues and initiation fees that are accrued after April 1 will be waived through Nov. 30.
The move was unanimously approved by Equity’s National Council.
“I hope that Council’s changes will help relieve some of the burden on our members while the entire industry is essentially closed for business,” said Actors’ Equity president Kate Shindle. “That said, it is incredibly important that anyone who can pay their basic dues does so as soon as possible – whether wholly or partially – to keep the union strong and help preserve our core functions. Paying what you can will enable us to advocate for actors and stage managers right now in Congress. It will also reinforce our ability to continue negotiations with employers regarding current settlements, as well as when the industry restarts production.”
Normally, Equity operates through two types of dues: the first is working dues, 2.5% of gross earnings under Equity contract, which have almost completely dried up in the current crisis. The second is annual dues, totaling $174 annually, paid out as $87 in May and November. The National Council is also “encouraging members who are able to do so to pay their dues on time to preserve the core functions of the union.”
Equity joins a growing list of industry unions and guilds that are providing some form of dues relief to their members during the coronavirus crisis, including SAG-AFTRA, the DGA, the Producers Guild, the International Cinematographers Guild, LA’s Musicians Local 47, IATSE Grips Local 80, IATSE Costumers Local 705, IATSE Make-Up & Hair Stylists Guild Local 706, and Hollywood’s Teamsters Local 399.