#pro99 #Ilove99 FAQs

What has happened AFTER December 13th, 2016:

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

(via StageRaw) 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.

The on-the-ground situations and positions are now so bizarre, the only reliable conclusion to be had is that we live in post-truth era, where nothing is what it seems. Everybody is wrong, and everybody is right. (I hope that’s a helpful conclusion.) ► READ MORE HERE and stay up to date via breaking Pro99 News.

What happened BEFORE December 13th, 2016:

Thousands of actors in Los Angeles have come together to oppose a proposal by Actors’ Equity, the theater actors’ union. The new proposal seeks to prohibit its members from lending their talents to small, nonprofit theaters by requiring these theaters to increase actor compensation by almost 1,000%.

Why would actors oppose making more money?

We don’t oppose making more money. We oppose the union taking away our ability to practice our craft in a non-commercial setting. The bulk of the work available to actors in Los Angeles is in film and television, yet the city is home to approx. 7,000 Equity members. Nonprofit intimate theaters are where we go to keep our skills sharp, and find creative fulfillment by doing work that is not available to us elsewhere.

Actors’ Equity is a labor union. Isn’t it their job to help members earn money?

Los Angeles’ small theaters are home to some of the most innovative and exciting work in the country. More than 70 productions have moved from small LA theaters to larger venues with paying Equity contracts, often bringing members of the original cast with them to Broadway and beyond. Many famous actors got their start in intimate LA theater. And countless more have developed their talent, built relationships which led to paid employment, and sustained themselves creatively by lending their talents to these theaters. The current AEA 99 Seat Plan has helped create thousands of contract jobs for AEA members.

When Equity actors choose to volunteer in small theaters, does it make it harder for other Equity actors to earn money?

No. No Equity actor in LA has ever lost a paying job because another Equity actor offered to do it for free. But if this new proposal passes, producers will be able to choose between casting an Equity actor for hundreds of dollars per week – or casting a non-Equity actor for free. Common sense tells us that doesn’t help Equity actors make money.

Has I Love 99 presented alternatives to Equity’s proposal?

Yes. While we have not been given an opportunity to formally present alternatives, many LA Equity members have offered Equity executives and National Councilors specific alternatives to the current proposal. (Click HERE and HERE for two of them.) This referendum vote however, is not a choice between many proposals. If you want a choice, you must VOTE NO!

How will this issue be decided?

The referendum vote is only on the unworkable proposal from Actors Equity. If you want ANY changes to the new proposal, you must VOTE NO to get Actors Equity to come to the table to discuss workable alternatives.

• A YES vote is an indication of support for the current new proposal exactly as originally presented.

• A NO vote is an indication of opposition to the current new proposal exactly as originally presented. This will trigger more discussions.

Some LA Equity members have been receiving phone calls from Equity volunteers telling them that a NO vote is a vote for the status quo. That is inaccurate. It is important for Equity members to understand that the Advisory Referendum is a vote on the current proposal, exactly as originally written. It is NOT a vote for change in general. We all want change. Just not THIS change! VOTE NO!

LA-based Equity members will receive an Advisory Referendum ballot on or about March 25, 2015. They will be asked to vote Yes or No on the specific proposal Equity has put forward. All votes must be received by April 17, 2015 at 7am PST.

On April 21, The National Council of Actors’ Equity, a body made up of more than 80 elected representatives from across the country, will vote to approve or reject the proposal. They will know the results of the Advisory Referendum, but will not be bound by them.

A super majority of LA Equity members must VOTE NO on the Advisory Referendum, sending a clear message that we want a proposal that addresses our concerns and meets Equity’s constitutionally stated goal, “to advance, promote, foster, and benefit all those connected with the art of theater.”

What can I do to get involved?