New possible health care benefit rule roils theater world
NEW YORK – The U.S. labor union that represents more than 51,000 theater actors and stage managers is blasting a proposal that would raise eligibility requirements for members to receive health care during the pandemic. The Equity-League Pension Health Fund on Thursday proposed hiking the number of weeks of employment needed to qualify for six months of health care coverage from 11 weeks to 16 weeks. The proposal has angered Actors’ Equity Association, which has been lobbying for more access to health care for its members, especially during the pandemic when members are out of work. Equity represents actors and stage managers across the nation. In August, it hiked up quarterly premiums for health care and prescription drug plan coverage to $300 from $100.
Actors back at Disney World after deal reached with union
Actors' Equity Association signed a memorandum of understanding allowing the actors, singers and stage managers to return to their jobs after Disney agreed to have a state-run drive-thru COVID-19 testing site for workers and others at the Florida theme park resort, according to the union, which represents 750 Disney World workers. We have been consistent that testing is an important part of ensuring a safe workplace for Equity performers, and today, Im pleased to see that Disney World has agreed, Kate Shindle, President of Actors Equity Association, said in a statement. Actors Equity Association filed a labor grievance against Disney World, saying its members faced retaliation for demanding the coronavirus tests before Disney World's theme parks reopened to visitors last month after being closed since March because of the pandemic. About 220 actors and singers initially were called back to work, but that invitation was rescinded after the union made public its concerns about the lack of testing, according to the union. It was unclear how many actors and singers would be called back now that an agreement has been signed.