October 19, 2017
Recently you may have received a letter from Equity talking about changes to the EMC program. There will be a discussion about this on October 29 at 7PM at Frank Theatre.
This is a forum organized by EMC candidates in order to support each another in their decisions, discuss the consequences pro and con of going union, talk with Equity liaison members about these changes, as well as speak with producers on their thoughts on producing with equity/non-equity actors. Equity members and theatre producers welcome as well!
Below is the letter:
I am pleased to share with you some good news about a significant change in Equity's EMC program…
We have discovered that there are two very different motivations of EMCs: those who want to join the union ASAP and those who want to take their time to develop relationships, build a resume and gain on-the-job experience. We have seen by the numbers that many times an EMC joins Equity not through accumulating 50 points but through a contract - meaning that they have been ready to become a member long before they qualify under the 50-week requirement. We also have come to realize that, because of the low initiation fee, many newer actors join the program without fully realizing that they are taking a serious step towards joining a labor union, so that your lists of local EMCs may include some who are not actually intending to become Equity members.
Beginning January 1st, the EMC program will be broken into two phases:
• Phase 1 will be only 25 weeks. The initial enrollment fee will increase to $200 (so Actors make a greater commitment to Equity membership as a goal). After completing 25 weeks, those EMCs who wish to join the union are eligible to do so.
• Phase 2 would allow an additional 25 weeks (and require a second installment of $200). This allows Actors who feel they need more time before joining Equity to extend their EMC experience. The additional required payment for Phase 2 would prompt EMCs to decide whether Equity membership is still their long-term goal. (Of course, both Phase 1 and Phase 2 fees go toward any eventual initiation fee, so it’s more of a deposit than a fee.) SAG-AFTRA members could only participate in Phase 1 (same 25-week maximum as now).
Although any current EMCs will be "grandfathered" in the existing program (including the $100 fee), emails are going out this week letting them know about the changes. Over the coming several weeks, these changes will also be rolled out to Equity employers where EMCs earn weeks.
Most significantly, the invitation to join Equity after completing 25 weeks as an EMC does apply to any current EMCs as well as those joining under the new program after January 1st. The email to those EMCs who have more than 25 weeks will let them know that they now have an opportunity, before the initiation fee increases, to become a member of Actors’ Equity.
Kevin McMahon, Councilor, Chair of the Entry to Equity Committee
1. Actor’s Equity is housed in three office cities: NY, Chicago and LA. The rest of our members (between 40-50% of our membership) are in “liaison cities” around the country – Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City, Portland, Houston, the TWIN CITIES… Our business rep, David Kolen, is in Chicago, and locally we have a volunteer "liaison committee" who does their best to keep the lines of communication open. But, as we do not have a local Equity representative and, as there are no representatives from any liaison cities on the National Council, it sometimes feels we are overlooked...
HOWEVER... We now have an advocate.
Due to the recent approval of the Equity dues increase, a new full-time "Liaison Organizer" has been hired at Equity. Her job is to work directly with the liaison commmittees in the 28 liaison cities. We are very hopeful this will help us have a greater voice on a national level, and will help us continue to grow and expand Equity work in the Twin Cities. Our committee will be getting an official Equity email address, and we are working with our new organizer to identify long-term organizing targets and goals. We will keep you posted.
2. Did you know you can request that your employer contribute to your 401K? Another benefit of Union Membership!
3. We also continue to try and improve our contact list. AEA is not able to provide us with your email address, but we do have a list of current members. It appears we have 529 members in the Twin Cities area, and we only have 276 emails. Which means….
There are 253 local members that haven’t been getting our emails…
In the recent past we have sent:
1. Info on “The Business Theatre MOU” – a way you can get health/pension credit for the corporate work you are doing.
2. “A Hire to Hire Me Letter” that you can give to non-union theatres explaining how they can hire union talent.
3. In addition we have had opportunities to:
- March in the Labor Day parade
- Meet visiting Equity leadership including our President Kate Shindle; our Executive Director, Mary McColl; a member of the National Council, and our Business Rep from Chicago, David Kolen
If you haven’t been getting our emails, you have been missing out! If you would like to be included, please send an email to
You can also like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tcaea/
1. AEA has launched an *Official* Facebook group for Equity Members. The group is called “Equity’s Stage Door.” The main purpose of this group is to create a community of members to discuss issues, engage in conversation, and find out relevant Union business. This is a community intended only for Equity Members, so entry into the group is monitored.
2. The best way to get answers on individual questions like grievances, contracts and other workplace issues is by calling the appropriate business office during normal business hours. Our business rep is David Kolen in Chicago: 312.641.0393 x236
3. We have a local SM subcommittee. If you are an AEA Stage Manager, or know someone who is, contact us so we can add them to our list of amazing union members.
EVEN OLDER NEWS
1. Did you know that, generally, AEA actors have first right to audition slots?! If a theatre says that their audition slots are full, but they have Non-Union or EMC actors signed up, they may have to bump someone so you can be seen.
2. The Actors Fund is a national human services organization that helps ALL professionals – union AND none, dancers, directors - in performing arts and entertainment. More about the Actor’s Fund: actorsfund.org
3. The Conrad Cantzen Shoe Fund reimburses eligible performing arts and entertainment professionals up to $40.00 towards a pair of shoes costing no more than $100.00.
TWIN CITIES AEA LIAISON COMMITTEE
Twin Cities Actors' Equity: https://www.facebook.com/tcaea/
Note: This is an unofficial page. As a service, and for informational purposes only, the Twin Cities AEA Liaison Committee provides information that may be of interest to AEA Members. Actors’ Equity Association is not responsible for, and does not monitor, the content or administration of this page. This page, and its content, (including but not limited to factual statements and opinions) are the sole responsibility of their creators, and do not represent, explicitly or implicitly, positions, policies or opinions of Actors’ Equity Association.
Twin Cities Actors' Equity Liaison Committee
Greta Grosch, Chair