LA 99 Theatre Company asks community for support for NLRB hearing vs. AEA this week

New Musicals, Inc. vs AEA

New Musicals, Inc. vs AEA

With your support…

Los Angeles theatre company New Musicals Inc. is asking members of the LA theatre community for letters of support in their upcoming NLRB hearing versus Actors’ Equity Association.  NMI has filed a charge against AEA through the National Labor Relations Board for unfair business practices, and accusing AEA of placing New Musicals Inc. on a “Do Not Work” list without cause.

In a statement provided to Pro99 members, Scott Guy, Executive Director of New Musicals, Inc. said, “The NLRB has requested that we gather some evidence that AEA is threatening or intimidating its members, either directly (with letters, phone calls, or meetings) or indirectly with implicit threats of disciplinary action, fines, sanctions or even expulsion from the union.”

Guy continued, “Our case is, of course, focused on NMI charges, but we sense there’s an opportunity to engage the NLRB’s interest if an alarming number of actors offer evidence.”

NMI will submit the letters as evidence in their upcoming hearing on Thursday July 6th, and is asking they be emailed to by Wednesday July 5th. Guy also noted that letters can also be submitted anonymously if people request, and that no email or contact information will be shared with the NLRB.

NMI issued its appeal for community support last week in an “Open Letter to the Theatre Community.”


Source: Footlights

Last week New Musicals Inc. filed a charge against Actors Equity Association through the National Labor Relations Board.  The charge centers upon unfair business practices, accusing AEA of placing New Musicals Inc. on a “Do Not Work” list without cause.

Actors Equity Association is demanding that its members do not engage with NMI, threatening union members with penalties, sanctions and possible expulsion from the union.  By including NMI on a ‘Do Not Work’ list, we feel that AEA is attempting to cause NMI to discriminate against union members, encouraging them to refuse to perform any services for NMI, and requiring its members to cease doing business with NMI.

Actors Equity has contacted a number of actors appearing in NMI’s Fringe shows and threatened them with “disciplinary actions” which presumably includes fines, sanctions and even expulsion from the union.  It’s causing a lot of heartbreaking situations in which actors are being told not to appear in our presentations.  These are wonderful artists with a passion for new musicals, and for them to be frightened away because of their union is just unconscionable.

Our charges also include that Actors Equity Association’s inclusion of NMI on its “Do Not Work” list has resulted in damage to NMI, affecting its commerce, its public reputation, its standing in the Los Angeles theatre community, and its ability to fulfill its nonprofit mission.

As you know, many other membership companies in Los Angeles operate in a manner similar to our Academy Repertory Company, and they have not been placed on the ‘Do Not Work’ list.   We believe that NMI is being treated unfairly and in a manner different from other similar organizations.

You might recall from our previous Open Letter in January 2017 that AEA keeps saying that the reason we’re being denied status as a membership company is that we didn’t apply under the name of the Academy Repertory Company.  We don’t understand this.  Our application included “Academy Repertory Company” right alongside our other dba’s, including the Academy for New Musical Theatre and New Musicals Inc.  You might also recall from that we have requested meetings with AEA to discuss this situation on twelve separate occasions, and AEA has refused a meeting each time.  We don’t know why the union is refusing to meet with us to this clear up.  So we’ve turned to the NLRB for help.

The National Labor Relations Board has notified the union of the charges against it.  As we understand it, the next steps will be for the NLRB to collect affidavits from our staff and colleagues and gather evidence and corroboration of our charges, at which time we can expect either dismissal, settlement or a trial.  We’re hopeful that there will be a swift conclusion to this matter.  We feel we’ve been treated very unfairly, and the fact that Equity has refused to meet with us…well, that just seems wrong.

We reiterate that we cherish all the artists we work with: writers, directors, music directors, stage managers, designers…and especially actors. We welcome theatre artists of every variety, you are all always welcome at the Academy Repertory Company, New Musicals Inc, and the Academy for New Musical Theatre, whether or not you’re a member of a union.

We would welcome your support, comments, and reactions. Post those in social media and send them to  Let us know if you’d like your comments to be private.

In the meantime, NMI will continue its performances at the Hollywood Fringe Festival.  (Search for “1001 Minutes of New Musicals” — that’s us!)

Thank you as always.

Scott Guy, Executive Director
Elise Dewsberry, Artistic Director
John Sparks, Founding Director

New Musicals Inc.
Academy for New Musical Theatre
Academy Repertory Company

John Rubinstein to Actors Equity – “We are fighting for our lives”

John Rubinstein letter to Actors Equity 02/17

Letter to Actors Equity from esteemed actor John Rubinstein

(Reprinted with permission from a Facebook post by Mr. Rubinstein which began, “We are fighting for our lives at Interact. For the third time in three years, I have written to the entire Equity council and officers tonight….”)

Dear Equity leaders and councilors:

I am a member of AEA in good standing, and have been since 1965. I am, urgently, and with all my heart, requesting that you consider the proposal to allow theater companies to appeal Equity rulings in a legal and official hearing, in the same way that producers are currently given that same right and opportunity. Please, in the interest of fairness and openness, and of adhering to the union’s mission to support its paying members in the work they do, vote in favor of this appeals proposal. I am a member of Interact Theatre Company in Los Angeles, and our company has, we believe erroneously and unjustly, been denied “membership status.” We are asking for a chance to appeal that unilateral edict, so that we can continue to do the work we love and need to do.

The paragraph above is the primary reason for this email. If you care to read further, I include some history, and some expressions of bewilderment and sadness. And yes, some anger, no doubt about it. I would nonetheless be appreciative if you would read it all, and I welcome and encourage any and all responses you may wish to send me.

Life for theater actors in Los Angeles has entered a confusing, dark, and threatening era. It’s truly terrible; and it’s terribly hard to come to terms with the fact that it is our own union — you very elected officers and councilors, whose only true purpose in your generously chosen volunteer AEA jobs is to see to the welfare, protection, and nurturing of us, your colleagues, your fellow dues-paying Equity actors — that have chosen to so aggressively and cruelly implement the draconian, punitive, destructive, and utterly unnecessary new 99-seat Rules which are already beginning the erosion, the inevitable winnowing, and the intended evisceration, of the large, productive, flourishing, and soul-saving small theater movement in LA.

The choices now left for the dozens and dozens of 99-seat theater companies are meager, and contain within them arbitrary and restrictive deadlines, requirements, caps, limits and exclusions which are clearly and solely meant to cause theater after theater to either severely reduce their ability to produce, or, more logically, to close their doors permanently. The union — you, our representatives — have forced this through, despite a massive majority vote by LA members saying NO to these new Rules. You have used widely disseminated lies to bolster your false rationale:
* “producers” of small theaters in LA are reaping and pocketing profits on the backs of their abused and underpaid actors (total fiction);
* AEA is simply fighting for actors to be paid for their work (which LA actors knowingly and willingly do for love and art and creative necessity, but, in LA small theaters, NEVER for a living wage, since they know it is neither available nor possible);
* money will suddenly appear where it has never been before, and these happy actors will finally, thanks to their beneficent union, be paid at least minimum wage for every hour of rehearsal and performance (again, pure fiction. That money does NOT exist, thus the actors will NOT be paid for anything at all; they will simply be denied the right to put on the kind and caliber of plays that they have been voluntarily and passionately staging for decades).

For those companies who still manage to somehow fit within the confines of the new Rules, you deign to allow them to continue to use their Equity members, yet you have withdrawn the few union protections and safeguards which, however reluctantly, AEA had provided for the last thirty years. Or, they can go ahead and use only non-Equity actors (so much for the union actors, your constituents, who pay their annual dues, as well as their work dues when they are lucky enough to book a job in a union house!), but if any AEA members get caught acting on a stage in such a company, you will take those actors down! Or, better and simpler still, they can all just go to hell. Who cares? Well, the actors do; so do the audiences, the local businesses, the communities, the underprivileged children who take classes at those theaters. They all care that their local small theaters are being shoved out of existence. But certainly not the venerable Actors’ Equity Association. It’s weird, it’s wrong, and it’s disorienting, and it’s hurtful.

I have been a proud, loyal, happy, and grateful member of Actors’ Equity for 52 years. I am currently in rehearsals for a big Broadway musical, and was, as usual, knocked out with admiration at the wonderful 90-minute meeting delivered by the Equity rep on the first day, outlining the succor and support, the protections and perks, the benefits and boons available to us from our beloved union. I am only too glad and willing to contribute a solid chunk of my paycheck every week to help fund all those services, and to bolster the insurance and pensions for the combined membership. Also, in the past, to help pay the relatively tiny costs of providing the barest essential protections to Equity actors in small companies in LA and around the country that aren’t at the top of the theater food chain, and who struggle on a daily basis to merely keep the lights on. I’ve been more than delighted to contribute the tens of thousands of dollars that I have paid to AEA over the last half century. Worth every nickel. Thank goodness that we have this terrific union, looking after us. As long as we are raking in the cash. But nowadays, if you are only making theater because you love it and must do it, your union leaves you out in the cold. Worse — it PUSHES you out into the cold, and either ignores or threatens you if you knock on the door and ask to be let back in! It is tragic, and ridiculous.

I realize and appreciate my exceptional good fortune when I get to work on Broadway; or off- or off-off-. Or on tour. Or at one of the handful of theaters in Los Angeles where enough money comes in so that actors can, in fact, and usually for a very short period, make a decent salary. But in LA, the theater world really is the vast network of small, actor-produced membership theaters that do excellent work on a shoestring, and ONLY because the actors choose to do it as volunteers. It is either that, or simply stay home. That choice should be left to the actors, and supported by the union to which they pay their dues; not decided and decreed tyrannically and thoughtlessly by a mostly New York-based Equity council that seems to neither care about nor understand the LA small theater scene.

I have also been a proud and grateful member of Interact Theatre Company in Los Angeles for the last 25 years — a non-profit 99-seat membership company, with a large majority of Equity actors as members. We would sincerely like to try to survive, in spite of our own union’s harsh and dedicated effort to close our doors, along with those of all the other small theaters in our city. We absolutely qualify for “membership status” under the restrictive new Rules.

But Gail Gabler, your hired West Coast director, has decided not to grant that status to our company. She has been astonishingly unavailable. She has rejected overtures, cancelled scheduled meetings, repeatedly refused to answer phone calls. For months. She recently did manage to find enough time to write a response to one of the many, many requests for an explanation and a reversal that our company respectfully submitted to her. Her letter was brief and dismissive, and contained the following sentence: “While I appreciate your continued disagreement regarding this determination, please understand that this is an internal membership rule and our determination stands.”

That is not only a complete dodge of the very plain and simple question — where is the rule that denies Interact membership status? — but its phony politeness (she “appreciates” our disagreement? how quaint and kind and condescending of her!) and insultingly vague lingo (what the hell is an “internal membership rule”? Some sort of secret law that she needn’t inform us of if she chooses not to??) make it absolutely clear that she has no intention of simply explaining her mistaken, unethical, and probably even illegal denial of status to our award-winning, long-standing company of dues-paying Equity members. We, who pay her quite impressive salary out of our pockets, are stunned and furious that Ms. Gabler, an employee of our union, would choose to treat her employer/members with such repulsive rudeness, disregard, and unfairness.

I am personally not only outraged at these actions taken by my union with such unfeeling severity, and in such contrast with the royal and respectful way we temporarily lucky Broadway actors are treated, but I am still totally mystified and confused as to how and why so many of you sitting on the council have not only bought into all the dishonest and fictional “reasons” for this two-year campaign, the patronizing and disrespectful tone of the communications, the one-sided presentation of the spin and false figures and invented motivations, the blatant dismissal of the clear referendum tally and the urgent outcry from the thousands of dues-paying LA actors — but why and how you can justify the fact that so many of you continue to vociferously, and in some cases sneeringly, stand up for it. And vote for these repressive Rules. And vote against proposals like the recent ones which would have granted some more openness and transparency and communication between the membership and the union. Even after so very many of you ran for your council seats on a campaign of transparency and open communication! I don’t get it. If you think you are helping your LA colleagues, you are not. You are taking away our ability to practice our art. If you think all this secrecy and misrepresentation and dishonesty is justified in the cause of getting proper pay for your constituents, you are deceiving yourselves, or you are being deceived by those manipulating and misinforming you.

Once again, I urge each and every one of you to really take the time and make the effort to look at what the situation actually is in Los Angeles — how completely different it is from that in New York, where The Theater is one of the mainstays of the entire city’s tourism and income, and millions upon millions of dollars flow into its coffers on a daily basis, 52 weeks a year. Don’t look down upon your brothers and sisters who live and work in LA, but who are still actors just like you, who want and need to act on the stage, even when there is nowhere near enough money to fund their productions, and who are striving to carve out an artistic and cultural existence for themselves from the ground up. There has been no need for you, and for the council and officers that preceded you, to put together and implement such a massive drive to dismantle and eliminate what LA Equity members have achieved, and what they still aspire to achieve in the future.

Please vote in favor of this appeals measure, so that at the very least, a group like Interact Theatre Company can present an argument that will have to be heard and taken into consideration, to appeal what we see as, at best, a mistake, and, at worst, a deliberate effort to destroy what we’ve worked so hard to build for close to thirty years.

I thank you all for volunteering and running for office at Actors’ Equity. Where the union has decided to invest its heart and its good will, it has accomplished wonders for its members. I beg you to tap into that great history, and into the generosity of spirit you all obviously have — to also open your hearts to your colleagues in LA and in small theaters everywhere, so that the true meanings of the three words, “actors,” “equity,” and “association” can once again rightfully earn their position as our shared titular emblem of inclusion, strength, and solidarity.

Yours respectfully,

John Rubinstein


Tales in the aftermath of AEA’s termination of LA’s 99 seat theatre plan

fallout from the 99seat plan termination

A catastrophic blow to the intimate theatres of Los Angeles


  • Less work for union actors.
  • Theatre companies left scrambling.

We’ll keep the stories here updated and current.

“Since the December 14 termination by Actors’ Equity Association of the 99-Seat Plan, Los Angeles intimate theatres have been tackling the issue of how to continue to produce under these new conditions. Some producing organizations have implied they intend to go completely non-union in the future, and others have simply announced they are unable to make the jump to the new Agreement, and must find a feasible way to keep producing that works within their financial realities.” – This Stage Magazine

“Perhaps the most important opportunities provided by the now bludgeoned 99-Seat Plan was the quality of the local culture for the audiences who attended the tens of thousands of performances staged here over the decades. The number and quality of those performances will now inevitably be diminished.” – Steven Leigh Morris, Executive Director of LA STAGE Alliance READ MORE 

How theatre artists of Los Angeles are moving forward. Or not. Under these new conditions:


The Theatre @ Boston Court Looks Forward After AEA Termination of 99-Seat Plan

Letter: Equity Stonewalls L.A. Theater Company

After the Fallout: Effects of Equity’s new Agreement for LA



So far, (paying) jobs for union actors are decreasing, not increasing.


“Our 2017 season will … employ the smallest number of actors in our history in order to afford to be in compliance.”

“We have the first evidence of the impacts from Actors’ Equity Association’s new, promulgated 99-Seat Agreement in Los Angeles County theaters.

The idea underlining the Agreement was that it was supposed to incentivize producers to pay union actors a living wage – the first step being minimum wage to actors and stage managers for all rehearsals and performances in theaters of all sizes – replacing a system of volunteerism with steadily rising expense reimbursements… but it’s as grounded in the empirical reality of 2017 LA theater as a Polar Bear wandering across the Mojave Desert.”

READ MORE HERE ► After the Fallout: Effects of Equity’s new Agreement for LA by Steven Leigh Morris for StageRaw

Equity was able to gaslight the majority of its membership over its elimination of the 99-Seat Plan.


Equity is eliminating the 99-Seat Plan that broadened the availability of intimate theater opportunities for hundreds of actors.

“…what Equity did in just this instance, the artist – who is, after all, a truth-seeker – should be quite wary of other statements made by the Union and its officials.

…Equity invented the narrative that “L.A. actors don’t want to get paid.”  This is patently false.  If actors, who are so good at understanding character motivation, had applied their craft on the invented narrative, it would have withered quickly.  Instead, most actors outside Los Angeles accepted Equity’s line despite the constant and consistent claim from L.A. actors that “We are for change, just not this change” – from their first town hall meeting with Equity back in January 2015 through a town hall meeting in August 2016 and right to the present.

Another Equity meme is “The 99-Seat Plan allowed producers to take advantage of actors.” This convenient line neglected two inconvenient facts: (1) the majority of L.A. intimate theater productions are actor-produced (the producers are actors) and (2) Equity created the 99-Seat plan, specifically to ensure it would be difficult to take advantage of actors.  Mary McColl (and those supporting the Equity position) would justify the “evil producer” meme by first pointing to some  theater budgets that were large and then implying all  theaters had plenty of money to pay actors.  According to Equity’s false narrative, the theaters were simply holding back.”

READ MORE HERE ► The Responsibility of the Artist by Kevin Delin for Footlights

Los Angeles is about to lose a part of its cultural infrastructure


Yes, this is a dramatic image. But we are talking about the THEATER here.
The very reason so many of us get up in the morning.

December 13 was the last day of small theater in Los Angeles as we’ve known it for the last three decades. 

Yes that is a dramatic statement. But sadly, it’s TRUE.

“It doesn’t feel like a big deal because there are no front page stories, even on the art section because, let’s face it, there is no art section. There is no rally in the streets by the theater community. There is no city-wide campaign of support for these actors. But it is a big deal, Los Angeles is about to lose a part of its cultural infrastructure: less theater, less art, less community . . . and that’s a tragedy.” – Anthony Byrnes Opening the Curtain on LA Theater for KCRW ► READ MORE

“December 14 is the day that the stage actors’ union, Actors Equity, implements a plan that will certainly decimate the Los Angeles theater scene, and will hit especially hard the most vulnerable – minority, women-centered and LGBT communities…. Theater has long served to bring a voice to the powerless, and nowhere more than in the small fringe movements that have sprung up from the fearlessness and dedication of underrepresented communities. In one fell swoop, and with little regard for their membership, Actors Equity has muzzled the voices of the many artists who speak truth to power, and joined the ranks of those who would rob them – and the audiences they serve – of their hopes and dreams.
It is indeed a sad day in LA.”  – Hoyt Hilsman for Huffington Post ► READ MORE

“Perhaps the most important opportunities provided by the now bludgeoned 99-Seat Plan was the quality of the local culture for the audiences who attended the tens of thousands of performances staged here over the decades. The number and quality of those performances will now inevitably be diminished… In this Brave New World, when the U.S. President-elect is already attacking union leaders and unionism in general, Actors’ Equity Association, with its inimitable lack of foresight, flexibility and empathy, couldn’t have found a more impolitic time to enrage its own membership in its second largest market.” – Steven Leigh Morris for This Stage.LA Magazine ► READ MORE

December 14th Press Release:

Members of L.A.’s “Pro99” theater community continue to gather signatures to demand a new referendum on Actors’ Equity’s 99-Seat Theater Plan, which is scheduled to end today.


SIGN the referendum

“Our community is united. We will prevail.” – Members of Pro99

Court case brought by Los Angeles actors against AEA is dismissed



Judge Hatter has dismissed, without prejudice, the lawsuit brought against Actors Equity by Los Angeles area actors.

But the plaintiffs announced that they will continue to fight for the survival of the 99-seat theater system.

YOUR SIGNATURE IS NEEDED – please sign the petition for a new referendum to bring AEA back to the table.

More info and links to original documents can be found on FOOTLIGHTS and STAGE RAW.

Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Issues Statement on Equity’s Proposed Changes to LA Theatre

“…We urge that the current system be maintained in place until the issues in controversy are resolved to avoid irreparable harm to the public, the artistic community, the related businesses and the quality of civic life in the region….  Once the infrastructure that undergirds the best of Los Angeles small theater is forced out of existence, it cannot, realistically, be resurrected.”

The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle (LADCC) has issued the following statement on behalf of the current situation regarding the current proposed changes by Actors Equity Association (AEA) to the Los Angeles intimate theatre community:

As the dispute over the Los Angeles theater’s 99-Seat Plan nears a crisis point, with a new policy set to be unilaterally imposed by Actors Equity Association (AEA) in December, the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle would appreciate all concerned, including the U.S. District Court, to take notice of its Resolution of February 2015, slightly shortened below.

If the pending changes are allowed to take effect, the immediate impact on the community of greater Los Angeles, as well as on its actors and other theater artists, would be deleterious and probably irreversible. Many companies, a good number of them operating productively for 10 to 30 years, have already had to cancel planned productions and have been unable to do essential long-range planning in this uncertain environment where they may have no viable future. Los Angeles’ most dedicated theater actors will be deprived of their free expression and realization of their craft, under circumstances that pose no genuine threat to the interests of AEA and contrary to their overwhelmingly expressed desire to continue to do so.

We urge that the current system be maintained in place until the issues in controversy are resolved to avoid irreparable harm to the public, the artistic community, the related businesses and the quality of civic life in the region.

From February 2015: 

“The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle views the impending changes of policy concerning the small theaters of the greater Los Angeles area with alarm. We are concerned that the inevitable result of such changes will be a drastic reduction in the amount and quality of local theater. Indeed, we foresee what could be the demise of Los Angeles as a leading incubator of plays and theater of innovation and diversity.

As critics, we are the front lines of the audience. Thus, we are keenly aware of the importance of small theaters and the actors who perform at them to the cultural ecosystem of Los Angeles as a major metropolitan center for the arts. Our institutional theaters and touring roadshows provide a valuable and popular service, but they alone do not and cannot provide the vast spectrum of forms of expression which a great city requires. Within that spectrum, live theater plays an essential role.

Under current proposals, nearly all of the winners of our Margaret Harford Award for sustained excellence over the past dozen years – our highest honor – would be threatened with closure or, at best, severely curtailed activities. A majority of the shows recognized in our annual nominations and awards would likely have never been produced. Worse, the future would promise a vastly constricted, less diverse, less venturesome, less exciting and relevant theater scene.

The cultural loss would be incalculable, affecting the hundreds of productions staged annually in Los Angeles. The economic loss of all the businesses interdependent on that production output is calculable, but even without the numbers being run, we believe the net impact on the city could be catastrophic.

The current situation is urgent and dire. When an historic piece of eminent architecture is destroyed, a natural resource despoiled, or a species goes extinct, the loss is irreplaceable. Once the infrastructure that undergirds the best of Los Angeles small theater is forced out of existence, it cannot, realistically, be resurrected.”

 For interviews or questions, please contact David Elzer/DEMAND PR at 818-508-1754 or at

Love 99 film documents the Los Angeles 99-seat theatre scene

 Please. Help support this film. Click the image:

Love 99 on Kickstarter

From the official press release:

Los Angeles, CA – October 10, 2016 – Helen Mirren narrated documentary film, Love 99, has launched a Kickstarter campaign for finishing funds and is on track for a December 2016 release.

Directed by Veronica Brady, LOVE 99 is a feature-length documentary following the lives of 9 actors in the Los Angeles 99-seat theatre scene as they fight for their passion during tumultuous times.

A few months before filming began, Actors’ Equity Association – the actors’ union – announced it would terminate the contract governing and protecting how and when their members could work in the nearly 200 intimate theatres spread across the city.  The union would enforce the dissolution of the “99-seat waiver contract,” as its known, against the wishes of its members. The loss of such artistic freedom quickly galvanized the community into action.

LOVE 99 drops right down into the middle of this storm and gives the viewer unprecedented access into the wild, joyful, and passionate life of theatre artists in LA and exposes what they will do to protect their creative freedom.

LOVE 99 is produced by Planet Grande Pictures, a 7-time Emmy Award-winning documentary production company, in collaboration with Hybrid Collective.

About Planet Grande Pictures

Planet Grande Pictures is an independent production company based in Malibu CA, founded by multi-Emmy winners John Watkin & Eamon Harrington. The company has produced over 200 projects for major networks, including CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX, HBO, SHOWTIME, CMT, FUSE, DISCOVERY, DISNEY CHANNEL & VH1.


Veronica Brady (Director)

Jasmine Pook (Associate Producer)



Details Proposed Changes to AEA Constitution to be Voted on, Urges Support


AEA Actor Leo Marks


by Leo Marks

For those of you wondering what the 9/12 meeting is about: I’m attaching the text of the proposals I’ve submitted, which will be voted on at that meeting.

I really encourage people to read these for themselves. For what it’s worth, I am Pro99 – but these are genuinely about what I take to be basic good governance of any organization. I have many non-Pro99 friends who support these.  Others don’t, but I think that has more to do with my affiliation than the substance of these quite straightforward amendments. Take a look and decide for yourself.

Leo Marks
Los Angeles, CA


The Executive Director has been petitioned with the following amendments to the By-Laws of Actors’ Equity Association, with a request that they be presented to Council for approval. This request is made as set forth under the rules and procedures outlined under Article VI, Section 2(a) of the Constitution for the Union.


[Current version:]  In all referenda submitted to the membership, the National Council shall, subject to such procedures as it may determine, insure that differing viewpoints, if any, are included with the materials mailed in said referenda.

[Amended version:]  In all referenda submitted to the membership, the National Council shall, subject to such procedures as it may determine, ensure that differing viewpoints, if any, are included with the materials mailed in said referenda. Additionally, if the National Council advocates or represents a viewpoint in any communication regarding a referendum submitted to the membership, it shall ensure that differing viewpoints, if any, are also included within said communication, whether written, telephonic, or electronic. Differing viewpoints shall be accepted by the petition of 8 council members or 250 members in good standing.

PURPOSE: This is standard language for all unions, and simply a common-sense update to address the clear intent of the existing article. Article VII was written in a time before the Internet. This amendment simply updates the language to close a loophole that could allow Council to ignore the article’s intent in non-written forms of communication.




Any 250 members in good standing may, upon submitting a written request to the Executive Director, obtain the right to communicate via e- mail or mail to all members, or to specific segments thereof. Any associated costs shall be borne by the members submitting the request. E-mail or mail distribution of literature will be sent by an independent company designated by Actors’ Equity that specializes in such communications. Said communications shall be limited to topics that directly affect members and will not contain promotional materials or political endorsements. Individual members may choose to opt out of said communications.

PURPOSE: To allow significant factions of the union to communicate with fellow union members about issues facing them, even if National Council doesn’t agree. To foster healthy dialogue and increase membership engagement, while providing safeguards against overuse or abuse.

The petition has been signed by members in good standing from the following twelve cities, in all three regions:

New York, NY
Los Angeles, CA
Chicago, IL
San Francisco, CA
Pittsburgh, PA
Louisville, KY
Seattle, OR
Ashland, OR
Houston, TX
Washington, D.C.
Portland, ME
Portland, OR


If you haven’t done so yet, please SIGN THE LETTER TO #AEA IN SUPPORT OF #PRO99’S CALL FOR A NEW REFERENDUM for the alternate 99 seat proposal, or, you can send an email to with the following:

(1) Your Name

(2) Your Affiliation

  • AEA Member
  • SAG/AFTRA Actor
  • Non-Union Actor/Stage Manager
  • Theatre Artist (Director, Designer, Producer)
  • LA Theatre Supporter
  • Other Friend of Pro99