“It’s Not Fair That Everyone Can Join Now!” says Equity Actor Wearing Bernie 2020 Shirt
by Alyssa LaVacca. IG: @alyssalavacca / Twitter: @alystentothis.
BROOKLYN, NY - Following Actor’s Equity Association’s decision to open membership to anyone who has been paid to act or stage manage, actress Meaghan Mason shared her feelings of discontent, noting that she doesn't think it’s fair that "basically anyone can join now”, while straightening the French tuck of her Bernie 2020 t-shirt.
“It dilutes the definition of what a union should be,” said Mason, reading a re-posted Instagram graphic from her boyfriend. “America was built by unions. I can’t even imagine what this country would look like if United Steelworkers let just anyone join without first engaging in 52 weeks of sporadic, underpaid, uninsured work.”
Entering the apartment carrying a Green New Deal tote and three stuffed H&M shopping bags, the couple’s non-equity roommate, Riley Jordan, overheard the conversation and offered her opinion.
“I don’t know if I’ll join. There are serious pros and cons to both sides of the argument,” said Jordan, sucking a smoothie through a plastic straw. “On one hand, I’m tired of being exposed to COVID-19 while performing Mamma Mia! at various dinner theaters across the midwestern U.S., but on the other, I haven’t yet proved myself worthy or deserving of the privilege of working in a safe environment.”
Mason's boyfriend and fellow EMC candidate, Sean Brady, looked contemplative as he took a sip from his coffee mug adorned with the face of Karl Marx and a quote that read “The worker of the world has nothing to lose, but their chains, workers of the world unite.”
“I used to be non-eq. I totally get how hard it is,” said Brady, now setting the mug down on the decorative copy of White Fragility he was using as a coaster. “We’ve all had to wait in line, we’ve all had to get heatstroke playing Trinculo in The Tempest. We’ve all experienced the humiliation of not being allowed to use the restroom at AEA’s offices and retaliating by shitting on the floor of Pearl 500. It’s called paying your dues before you get the privilege of paying dues. No one should have to suffer for their art, but I suffered for mine. No one said showbiz would be easy - it’s called a labor union because labor is hard!”
Taking a breath, Brady changed the subject.
“Does anyone know whether or not Biden is going to permanently cancel student loan debt? It’s such an unfair system designed to favor the privileged and keep certain communities in a perpetual cycle of poverty. Like, I’m an actor. We’re notoriously underpaid. I’m never going to be able to pay off the $100k I took out for my BFA in musical theatre. If only there was a way my community could come together and bargain for our collective rights and fair wages.”