Giving Members in Liaison Areas A Seat At The Table
Living in Chicago, Los Angeles, or New York shouldn't give you a more of a say.
GIVING MEMBERS IN LIAISON AREAS A SEAT AT THE TABLE
More than 40% of the members of Actors' Equity Association live outside of Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. Ours is a national union without a local governance structure, and so it's incredibly important that our democratic processes include everyone from across the country. Sadly, that's not currently the case. At this moment, the National Council has 82 members, with only 4 of them living outside of those three office cities. That's less than 5% of the representatives of the stage managers and actors of Equity. That's simply not acceptable.
In order to ensure that our Council is truly regionally representative, I have and will continue to work towards amending Equity's Constitution and By-Laws to require no fewer than 10 dedicated Council seats for members living outside our office cities. Only when we require that members from across the country have a seat at the table can we be certain that their concerns will be properly addressed.
Additionally, Equity's Regional Membership Meetings currently include a required Membership Discussion Period. This affords our members the remarkable ability to put forward ideas, and to offer motions that they believe will make good Equity policy. If a majority of the members present at these meetings can be convinced to vote in favor of one of these motions, it is sent to the National Council, which is then required to act on it, AND to take a recorded, roll-call vote on the outcome. It's an extraordinary instrument of democracy afforded to our members, and it makes me proud to be a member of Equity.
Except, of course, that you have to be in Chicago, Los Angeles, or New York to participate. That's not OK.
At the Eastern Regional Membership Meeting this winter, I was proud to speak strongly in support of a proposal that would allow our members living in and near Liaison Areas to offer such motions at their own Annual Area Membership Meetings, affording them the same basic benefits of participation as our members in office cities. As Eastern Regional Vice President, I'll fight to make this a reality.
Participation in our democracy is a core and fundamental right of membership. It should not be limited only to those who happen to live in our three largest markets.
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