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  • Equity's Pearl Harbor 10/18/2017  10:41am

    Equity Members, welcome to our Pearl Harbor--a sneak attack that will live in infamy!

    Today the Equity Council surreptitiously voted to change a program the has real consequences for Equity members. Had I been aware of this proposal (you know, like through an official email from Equity rather than finding out via an EMC member on a group text), I would have asked the following questions:

    1. Why now? Equity had our undivided attention during the Equity 2020 campaign. I do not recall Equity mentioning reducing the length of the EMC program as part of its initiatives. I understand that this change to EMC has the potential to thin the pool of non-union actors that threaten AEA jobs, but why was this not introduced as a chief strategy when Equity 2020 was in full swing? By sneaking this in after the dues referendum vote, you eliminated our opportunity to ask pertinent questions about how this change affects us AEA members. More so, you kept valuable information from us in deciding whether the dues increase was appropriate. Was such a dues increase justified if AEA was planning to swell its ranks and receive additional dues from newly-converted EMC's? This is a question I would have liked to ask myself BEFORE voting on Equity 2020. This seems like you withheld information about Equity's future financial intake to get my vote.

    2. Speaking of Equity 2020, why not allow time for those initiatives to take shape before making such a drastic change to EMC? This change to EMC will undoubtedly swell our ranks. Has Equity 2020 achieved any significant gains in the number of contracts to help absorb all of these new AEA members that will now need Union contracts? Why not wait say, a year, to determine whether gains could be made that would help offset an increase in our membership?

    3. How many new members should we expect? This change to EMC makes me fear the problem of dilution. By increasing the number of Equity members, you have also increased the competition for the few coveted Union contracts at many theaters. There are roughly 13,300 EMC members. How many are now instantly eligible to join? How many do we actually expect to join by the end of 2017? Was there any statistical analysis done in this area at all? These numbers matter. Not only would I like to know how many more members I now have to beat out for a job, but there are other side-effects as well. Imagine how crowded an EPA in February is going to be now that we just added 5,000 new members. Is there a plan in place to rectify this problem (adding additional ECC or EPA days)? If so, this should have been articulated in the press release.

    4. What is the goal here? I fully understand that this news is great for EMC's. It fixes many complaints that future members had about the program. However, EMC's are not Members. What does this change do for me--a member who just wrote you a dues check that is half my monthly rent? Will theaters add AEA contracts if there is a smaller non-Equity talent pool? Is there any precedent for this working? Talented non-union actors are like Hydra--make one Equity and two more will take its place. I don't understand how AEA could ever keep pace. For all of our sake, I hope this plan works but I would have at least liked some anecdotal evidence of its chances for success before this sweeping change was made. If the real goal here is money, just say so. I would respect you more for it. Promise.
    5. Why tell EMC's first? You have to realize that the optics on this look bad. It looks sneaky. Moreover, Members all felt blindsided yesterday. We should never feel that way. That it "affects EMC's more directly" is a poor excuse. It affects us too. Non-members should never be the first to know. I think Equity owes its members an apology.

    -Adam Kaster


    Uhhhh....maybe not the most valid use of a comparison - like Pearl Harbor - really? People like actually died, just saying.

    MTGrande 10/18/2017  11:45am

    I agree that the comparison isn't really appropriate. BUT the questions are all extremely valid. And I am an EMC member. I think it was a good decision overall but if I were a dues paying member...I would've appreciated the transparency that Adam is asking for.

    towel 10/18/2017  12:31pm

    I am sorry can you please post the change. Do you need less emc points to join now?

    dgretchen 10/18/2017  12:42pm