Actors' Equity Association Organizes Lecturers at the Griffith Observatory Planetarium

The entirety of the planetarium’s lecture staff have signed union authorization cards

By: Sep. 19, 2022
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Actors' Equity Association Organizes Lecturers at the Griffith Observatory Planetarium

When Shakespeare said, "all the world's a stage," he wasn't thinking big enough. Today, the entire universe becomes a stage, as Actors' Equity Association, the national labor union representing more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers in live entertainment, has filed with the Los Angeles City Employee Relations Board on behalf of the planetarium lecturers at Griffith Observatory. The entirety of the planetarium's lecture staff have signed union authorization cards. As a result of the unanimous support, Equity is seeking voluntary recognition from the City of Los Angeles.

"We are incredibly proud and deeply protective of the work we do here," said Michael Faulkner, one of the planetarium lecturers. "The team of live narrators in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium are integral to the mission of Griffith Observatory, and a big part of what makes it one of the City of Los Angeles' most unique, inspiring and beloved institutions. Multiple generations of Angelenos remember fondly their first encounter with the universe accompanied by the sound of one of our voices. Organizing with Equity, to have a collective voice when speaking to our employer, is one way of ensuring mutual respect between the parties, so that the tradition of live lecturers can remain a cherished part of the Griffith Observatory experience for millions of locals and tourists alike."

"The lecturers who give voice to these presentations are critical to maintaining Griffith Observatory's reputation as one of the world's premiere planetariums," said Kate Shindle, president of Actors' Equity Association. "These performers have entertained and informed hundreds of thousands of visitors, including nearly every single child educated in the Los Angeles Unified Public School system and surrounding school districts. But it's been years since they got a raise; in fact, they are the only employees at Griffith Observatory without the protection of a union. This effort reflects Equity's revitalized commitment to collaborating with live performers seeking to organize their workplaces, and our core belief that every worker who wants a union deserves a union. We anticipate the cooperation of the City of Los Angeles and look forward to bargaining a fair contract very soon."


This news comes on the heels of Equity filing to represent the strippers of Star Garden Topless Dive Bar in North Hollywood and organizing the national tour of Waitress. Equity has ramped up its organizing activity, bringing on a new Director of Organizing, devoting more resources and expanding its organizing staff. Equity encourages all workers in live performance who feel they would benefit from a union contract to contact the union's organizing department at actorsequity.org/organize.

ACTORS' EQUITY ASSOCIATION, founded in 1913, is the U.S. labor union that represents more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers. Equity endeavors to advance the careers of its members by negotiating wages, improving working conditions and providing a wide range of benefits (health and pension included). Member: AFL-CIO, FIA. www.actorsequity.org #EquityWorks



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