2020 election F.A.Q.

Have you got questions? We’ve got answers!

Can I vote in these elections?

You must be a member in good standing of Actors’ Equity Association to vote. A member in good standing is one whose dues are current, and is not on temporary withdrawal, suspended payment, out-of-benefits or delinquent.

How do I find out if I’m a “Member in Good Standing?”

Two ways!

  1. Call AEA’s offices at 212-869-8530 and speak to someone in the Membership Department to find out your status.
  2. Log In to the Member Portal to check your membership status and pay your dues. If you’ve never registered for the Member Portal, you will need your Equity ID# which can be found on your Equity card. If you don’t have your card, call the office and they will tell you your number (and maybe send you a new card!)

When does voting begin and end?

Ballots will be mailed on May 13th, and must be returned by June 17th. The USPS is experiencing slower-than-usual service due to COVID-19, so give your ballot plenty of time to be returned. Put your completed ballot in the mail no later than June 5th. No postage will be necessary.

Why only Paper Ballots? What happened to online voting?

It’s a legal thing, and it sucks. Long story short, there was a ruling in a Federal District Court in Texas that basically made conducting union elections with online ballots too legally risky. You can read more about it here and here. So we’ll be using paper at Equity for the foreseeable future. This means it’s up to you to be even more proactive about getting your ballot and sending it back.

I didn’t get a ballot! What do I do?

First, make sure it’s after May 13th, because ballots aren’t mailed until then.
Then, check that the mailing address you have registered with Equity is correct at https://members.actorsequity.org/account/profile/.
There will be instructions in the Equity Member Portal (https://members.actorsequity.org) for how to request a replacement.
And if you have any trouble, just contact us. We’ll help!

How many of the #Fairwageoncouncil candidates can i vote for?

All sixteen of us!
Eastern Vice President – Sid Solomon
2 Eastern Stage Manager Councilors – Erin Maureen Koster, Jakob W. Plummer
3 Eastern Chorus Councilors – Brian Myers Cooper, Wally Dunn, Nikka Graff Lanzarone
1 Central Principal Councilor – Bear Bellinger
1 Central Stage Manager Councilor – Katherine Nelson
1 Western Stage Manager Councilor – David S. Cohen
1 Eastern At-Large Councilor – Leslie Sears
6 Eastern Principal Councilors – Bobby Moreno, Robert Stanton, Claire Karpen, Jeffrey Omura, Carson D. Elrod, Kellie Overbey

Do I have to vote for all of you?

You don’t have to, but we hope you will vote for us all! Read more about our platform and candidates!

Who else should I vote for?

That’s up to you. There are certainly lots of worthy candidates other than those running with #FairWageOnCouncil. If you’d like some suggestions, reach out to your favorite member of #FairWageOnCouncil.

Can I vote for candidates in other regions besides the one I live in?

Yes. All members can – and should – vote for candidates across all regions.

Can I vote for candidates in categories other than the ones i work?

Yes. All members can – and should – vote for candidates across all categories.

You have a lot of Eastern candidates. Will FWOC represent me well if I don’t live in NYC?

The #FairWageOnStage movement was born out of a contract campaign in New York, which is why much of our Core Membership live in New York. That said, we are proud to be running candidates from across the country this year, including all three regions and several liaison areas.

We believe that stage managers and actors deserve fair wages, that our employers should be working towards paying LIVING wages, that we need Equity ASMs on every agreement, and that our contracts need to Judge It By The Budget. These values are universal, and apply to all our members, no matter where they happen to be living.

What have the FWOC councilors been doing?

In addition to advocating for better wages, more contracts, and fewer concessions through their votes in Council, the Regional Board, and committees, your #FairWagers on Council have helped shape and influence Equity policy by championing member-driven solutions informed by our relentless engagement that aim to make our business and union more fair for all, in our contracts, our dues, and our union’s internal processes, including policy to:

  • insist negotiating teams “Judge It by the Budget”—when negotiating or promulgating agreements, the association will consider an employer’s actual ability to pay, by, for example, a non-profit theater’s total expenses, financial and local history, program service revenue versus gifts/grants/contributions, and total gross box office, rather than just its box office receipts;
  • eliminate the dues cap, so that ALL members pay the same percentage of their salaries in working dues;
  • give members at membership meetings in Liaison Areas the ability to make and pass motions that affect union policy, further democratizing our union by beginning to level the playing field between members in Liaison Areas and office cities;
  • modernize our conflict of interest policies to ensure our members can voice their concerns free from employee repercussions.

What do AEA councilors do?

Our union is a democracy, and the Councilors are the members we elect to represent us. It’s like Congress, but for Equity. They are tasked with setting national policy, negotiating and ratifying contract terms, approving the union’s budget, and overseeing the work of the Executive Director.

Do AEA councilors get paid?

Nope, the Councilors and Officers of AEA are all volunteers. Only AEA staff members are salaried employees.

Why is the 2020 election different?

2020 marks the beginning of the transition to a delegation of councilors that explicitly include ‘At Large’ seats, or seats designated specifically for members who reside outside office cites (New York, Chicago, LA)

How many AEA councilors are there?

AEA’s National Council is composed of 75 Councilors and 8 Officers. The number of Councilors per region is determined by the proportion of members within the region, and by the percentage of those working under Equity’s Principal, Chorus, and Stage Manager categories.

With the inclusion of the At-Large seats, our 2020 Council makeup will look something like this:

Eastern
24 Principal
13 Chorus
7 Stage Manager
3 At-Large

Central
5 Principal
1 Chorus
1 Stage Manager
1 At-Large

Western
14 Principal
2 Chorus
3 Stage Manager
1 At-Large

The numbers will shift slightly in 2022 to increase the total number of At Large seats to 9, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Do councilors only represent their regions?

No, all councilors represent members for all regions. Because of that, you can vote in all three regions!

Do you have any info on the convention and delegates?

Not yet, but watch this space – we’ll put things here as soon as we know them!