New York City’s ‘Open Culture’ Program ‘Does Not Meet’ Actors’ Equity Standards For Wages Or Safety
(NEW YORK CITY) - Actors’ Equity Association (AEA), the National Labor Union representing more than 51,000 Professional Actors and Stage Managers in live theatre, has sent a Statewide Member Alert to all Equity Members regarding the launch of New York City’s Open Culture Program, allowing producers to apply for a permit to close a city street and hold an outdoor performance at a reduced cost.
AEA has asked its Members to check with Union Staff before accepting work on an Open Culture project, as the program does not meet Equity’s minimum standards for wages or COVID-19 safety, including the following issues: The city permit process does not require that producers pay a living wage (despite explicitly permitting ticket sales and collecting donations); The city permit process does not require producers provide proof of Workers’ Compensation Insurance; The city permit does not require Workers be tested for COVID-19; The city permit does not require performers to be socially distanced; The city permit does not have a formal requirement for a COVID-19 Safety Officer; and The city permit process does not have appropriate safeguards to keep crowds distanced from Workers.
In anticipation of the launch of Open Culture, AEA submitted testimony to the city about the need to ensure Arts Workers are properly protected and compensated.
Actors' Equity, which was founded in 1913, represents more than 51,000 Professional Actors and Stage Managers - and works to advance the careers of its Members by negotiating wages, improving working conditions and providing a wide range of benefits.
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