Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) has approved the launch of a political action committee (PAC). Created as a separate organization from AEA, the new committee is intended to promote the political interests of the union’s 51,000 members of professional theater actors and stage managers. The formation of the group comes in response to a resolution that passed at Equity’s convention in the fall of 2022, which was then made into policy by the union’s national council in February 2023.
While the committee’s board will consist of union leaders and staff, it will be an independent entity from the union itself. Voluntary donations from Equity members will fund the group, which will in turn be able to donate money to candidates in federal elections. No dues or other union funds will be used as money for the political action committee.
This committee will allow the union to support candidates who align with policies that benefit members — policies the union has long been advocating for — such as the right to organize and collectively bargain in the workplace (via the PRO Act), the ability for performers to deduct essential work expenses from taxes (the Performing Artist Tax Parity Act) and a single-payer national health insurance program to provide everyone in the U.S. with coverage (Medicare for All).
“This is the natural next step in the political and legislative work Equity has been doing over the past few years,” Kate Shindle, president of AEA, said in a statement. “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.”
Equity will also be able to combine efforts with PACs that share common interests, such as the nonprofit Americans for the Arts. “Especially now, the live arts needs more champions in Congress,” Nina Ozlu Tunceli, executive director of the Americans for the Arts Action Fund and PAC, told Broadway News exclusively. “And I can think of no better partner to work with us as we push for more funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, tax fairness for arts workers and more.”
Ozlu continued, “I look forward to working with Actors’ Equity on our shared advocacy priorities.”
The committee will begin accepting donations in April. When Equity members pay their dues via the member portal, there will be an option to make a contribution. A separate website for the PAC will also launch in April to facilitate donations.