Letter: Proposed Changes to Actors’ Equity’s Constitution

Footlights received this letter from actor and Actors’ Equity member Leo Marks.  In it, he references an upcoming Equity meeting on September 12, 2016: 

leo marks headshotFor those of you wondering what the 9/12 meeting is about: I’m attaching the text of the proposals I’ve submitted, which will be voted on at that meeting.

I really encourage people to read these for themselves. For what it’s worth, I am Pro99 – but these are genuinely about what I take to be basic good governance of any organization. I have many non-Pro99 friends who support these.  Others don’t, but I think that has more to do with my affiliation than the substance of these quite straightforward amendments. Take a look and decide for yourself.

Leo Marks
Los Angeles, CA

__________________________________________

The Executive Director has been petitioned with the following amendments to the By-Laws of Actors’ Equity Association, with a request that they be presented to Council for approval. This request is made as set forth under the rules and procedures outlined under Article VI, Section 2(a) of the Constitution for the Union.

ARTICLE VII REFERENDA

[Current version:]  In all referenda submitted to the membership, the National Council shall, subject to such procedures as it may determine, insure that differing viewpoints, if any, are included with the materials mailed in said referenda.

[Amended version:]  In all referenda submitted to the membership, the National Council shall, subject to such procedures as it may determine, ensure that differing viewpoints, if any, are included with the materials mailed in said referenda. Additionally, if the National Council advocates or represents a viewpoint in any communication regarding a referendum submitted to the membership, it shall ensure that differing viewpoints, if any, are also included within said communication, whether written, telephonic, or electronic. Differing viewpoints shall be accepted by the petition of 8 council members or 250 members in good standing.

PURPOSE: This is standard language for all unions, and simply a common-sense update to address the clear intent of the existing article. Article VII was written in a time before the Internet. This amendment simply updates the language to close a loophole that could allow Council to ignore the article’s intent in non-written forms of communication.

PROPOSED NEW BY-LAW
ARTICLE XI MEMBERSHIP COMMUNICATION

Any 250 members in good standing may, upon submitting a written request to the Executive Director, obtain the right to communicate via e-mail or mail to all members, or to specific segments thereof. Any associated costs shall be borne by the members submitting the request. E-mail or mail distribution of literature will be sent by an independent company designated by Actors’ Equity that specializes in such communications. Said communications shall be limited to topics that directly affect members and will not contain promotional materials or political endorsements. Individual members may choose to opt out of said communications.

PURPOSE: To allow significant factions of the union to communicate with fellow union members about issues facing them, even if National Council doesn’t agree. To foster healthy dialogue and increase membership engagement, while providing safeguards against overuse or abuse.

The petition has been signed by members in good standing from the following twelve cities, in all three regions:

New York, NY
Los Angeles, CA
Chicago, IL
San Francisco, CA
Pittsburgh, PA
Louisville, KY
Seattle, OR
Ashland, OR
Houston, TX
Washington, D.C.
Portland, ME
Portland, OR

About Peter Finlayson

monsterid
Peter Finlayson is the Founder, Publisher and Editor-in-chief of FootLights magazine and footlight.click. While working on a prelaw program at the University of Michigan, he happily got involved with the theatre program. Much to his mother’s chagrin, law school never happened, but in a career spanning more than 4 decades, Peter has performed, directed or designed more than 150 productions. In his spare time, he is working on a new play. You can follow him on Twitter @Thtrdog .

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