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Actors Fighting for…a Lower Wage?

Los Angeles has always been a mecca for artists, actors, and singers who participate in sometimes under-funded productions. With a new minimum wage hike prospect, smaller Los Angeles Theater houses are worried about what effects are in store.

Since 1989, smaller theaters that contain 99 seats or less have been allowed to operate outside of minimum wage laws in order to keep the theater doors open and independent actors employed. For example, members belonging to Equity, the stage actors union, could be paid as little as $7 per hour or $15 per performance without any wages for rehearsals. The new minimum wage, at $9 per hour, would be applied to all hours worked if the national council of Equity approves it.

The members of Equity voted 2-1 against the change. Though the actors who belong to the union have spoken, the national council has the final say. Those who voted against the hike argued the pay increase put an incredible financial strain on the small playhouses, some that are nonprofit. It would increase the incentive for small theaters to become profit-driven and would, in turn, produce “box office safe” programs thus stifling “creative experimentation.”

The council's decision is expected later today.

Source: LA Times & Deadline.com

Image Source: KCET

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