CMU School of Drama

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

What Has Equity Won in Los Angeles?

AMERICAN THEATRE: The decisive blow came last December. After years of vociferous wrangling, legal and otherwise, a federal judge in Los Angeles dismissed a lawsuit filed by Ed Asner and a group of plaintiffs against Actors’ Equity Association, which contested the union’s actions in its campaign to organize the region’s small theatres, with the goal of requiring them to pay minimum wage to actors. And so on Dec. 14, a predetermined deadline for Equity’s new 99-Seat Theatre Agreement kicked in, and the old L.A. 99-Seat Plan—a pact that for nearly 30 years had allowed Equity members to work in theatres under 100 seats in L.A. County for small performance stipends, as essentially volunteers, leading to a local theatre scene that blossomed in quantity, if not in numbers of paid work weeks for union actors—was kaput.

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