The Actors’ Equity Association stands in solidarity with the Atlanta Opera’s hairstylists and makeup artists

The Actors’ Equity Association, the national union representing more than 51,000 professional actors and theater managers, announced its support for the 11 hair and makeup artists from Opera Atlanta who voted to join IATSE Local 798 with the following statement:

“Now is the time for Opera Atlanta to do what’s right. These brave workers are entitled to the fair wages and benefits, including health care, that a union guarantees. Far more shameful, is that the Atlanta Opera denied a group of all black performers their right to organize.These employers not only refused to recognize the legitimacy of the bargaining unit, but retaliated against Such actions contradict the work of the Atlanta Opera’s own EDI Task Force, which is committed to “countering bias, increasing diversity, and fostering an inclusive climate.”

“Too many of our members of color have faced discrimination when it comes to hair and makeup on the job, in part because there are so few techs who share their background. This is a critical time to ensure that Every area of ​​the entertainment industry has diverse workers, but refusing to treat them fairly only exacerbates this crisis.”

The Atlanta Opera refused to recognize the legitimacy of the bargaining unit, saying the workers are independent contractors. Last year, Equity and other arts and entertainment unions introduced a legislative agenda to tackle inequality in the industry. The federal government’s passage of the CROWN Act was a crucial item on that list. Also last year, Equity’s board approved the “Hair Texture as a Protected Feature” resolution, which directs Equity to bring “hair texture” to the protected features in the anti-discrimination clause of all upcoming negotiations.

THE ACTORS’ EQUITY ASSOCIATION, founded in 1913, is the American union representing more than 51,000 professional actors and managers. Equity strives to advance the careers of its members by negotiating salaries, improving working conditions and offering a wide range of benefits (including health and retirement). Member: AFL-CIO, FIA. www.actorsequity.org #EquityWorks

Andrew B. Reiter