Actors' Equity Association has moved to create a political action committee that will operate independently to advance the political interests of Equity's membership. The theatrical union represents more than 51,000 actors and stage managers working on professional stages nationwide, including most Broadway shows.
The committee will be empowered to make campaign contributions in federal elections, decisions made by a board comprising current Equity member leaders and staff. The group will be funded via voluntary donations from Equity members rather than union dues or other funds.
"This is the natural next step in the political and legislative work Equity has been doing over the past few years," says AEA President and Broadway actor Kate Shindle. "COVID-19 starkly revealed that arts workers need a more powerful seat at the table. While we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished, we strongly believe that this PAC can do more to ensure that elected officials listen to us and respond to our members’ needs."
"Having a PAC gets us into 'the room where it happens,'" adds Sarah LaBarr, AEA at-large councilor for the Central Region and chair of the National Public Policy Committee. "It allows us to support candidates who have shown that they understand our members’ needs when it comes to crucial legislation like the PRO Act, the CROWN Act, the Performing Artist Tax Parity Act, Medicare for All, and so much more."
The group is the result of a vote last fall at which Equity convention delegates overwhelmingly approved the idea. The National Council passed it into policy last month.