Unions of Broadway: Actors' Equity Association

Broadway workers are represented by 13 different unions.

By: Nov. 02, 2023
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Unions of Broadway: Actors' Equity Association
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Broadway is made up of so much more than just the faces that you see onstage. The theatre community consists of countless craftsman, designers, specialists, and of course... performers- all who play in integral role in getting (and keeping) your favorite shows up and running. Thirteen different unions (and three additional contracts) represent Broadway workers and BroadwayWorld is spotlighting each and every one of them.

Today, learn all about Actors' Equity Association...

Union Name:

Actors' Equity Association, sometimes known more simply as: Equity.

Who they are:

Founded in 1913, Equity is the U.S. labor union that represents professional Actors and Stage Managers. Equity fosters the art of live theatre as an essential component of society and advances the careers of its members by negotiating wages, improving working conditions and providing a wide range of benefits, including health and pension plans. Actors' Equity is a member of the AFL-CIO and is affiliated with FIA, an international organization of performing arts unions. 

Equity is governed by its own members through an elected Council, representing principal actors, chorus actors and stage managers living in three regions: Eastern, Central and Western. Members at large participate in Equity’s governance through a system of regional Boards and Committees. Equity has 28 designated liaison areas, metropolitan areas with a concentration of more than 100 members.  

How many people it represents:

More than 51,000.

More Insight:

BroadwayWorld checked in with union representative David Levy to gain more insight about what the union is all about.

Are there any long or short-term goals of your union that you can share?

We want to make sure that everyone who wants to make a living in the theatre can do so for a fair wage in a safe workplace. That means we also want to ensure that theatres nationwide have the support they need to continue bringing high quality productions to audiences in their communities.

What might people be surprised to learn about your union?

While we are primarily associated with actors and stage managers working in traditional theaters, we also organize all kinds of theatrical and theatre-adjacent work. You might know that we organize strippers and the performers at Walt Disney World, but did you know we also have issued Equity contracts for tour guides, lecturers, stunt performers, birthday party entertainers, Christmas carolers, and model patients, not to mention stage managers working fashion shows, corporate events and more.

There's a lot of theatrical and theatre-adjacent work that isn't currently unionized but could be. Equity can support you and your co-workers through the process of forming a union – empowering you with the tools and the guidance needed to claim your power, raise your wages and improve your working conditions. Equity organizers can answer your questions and help develop a strategy that is best for you. Contact us today to begin a conversation at actorsequity.org/organize

Is there anything that members of your union might want the rest of the Broadway community to know about what you do or stand for?

As performers and stage managers, we are workers. Just like other workers, we are concerned with workplace safety for our members and our colleagues. Our understanding of workplace safety has expanded over the last several years to include public health, air quality and protection from bullying, discrimination and harassment. Performing trauma on stage can be just as dangerous in its own way as dancing around trap doors with thousands of pounds of equipment suspended over your head, and we want to make sure producers are taking the same level of care to protect their workers from harm in each of these situations.

Learn more:

Learn more about Actors' Equity Association and find out how to become a member at: actorsequity.org. You can also follow Actors' Equity Association today on Facebook, XInstagram, and Youtube.

Check back later to learn about another one of the 13 unions of Broadway!