North Hollywood Ten

    In response to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce:  

It is no surprise that a group that has long opposed increasing the Minimum Wage would support an economic scenario that is dependent upon free labor provided by professional members of Actors' Equity Association.  Study after study has found, however, that rather than hurting business, RAISING WAGES provides a powerful and pervasive economic boost.  We stand for fair labor practices & a fair, legal minimum wage for actors & stage managers.  Our approach will stimulate theater growth and as a result invigorate the local economy.  We strongly condemn Hollywood Chamber's short-sighted endorsement of the status quo. 

    The North Hollywood Ten
    April 9, 2015

March 25, 2015

Dear Celebrity Supporter of Pro99:

We are a group of members—your fellow actors & stage managers—in Actors' Equity Association.  

Recently, you gave your support to a movement that is fighting against the fundamental right of Union workers to earn a minimum wage for their labor.  This very vocal anti-Union faction, the self proclaimed Pro99, is made up of Artistic Directors, Producers and Actors of Intimate Theater in LA.

What is known as “Equity Waiver” theatre has been around since the 1970s.  It was created when there were very few intimate theaters in Los Angeles.  Now decades later, this "waiver" still exists as "The 99-seat Theater Plan."  What began as a small handful of generous exceptions to standard Union rules, has now proliferated into over two hundred producing organizations, several with budgets in the six and seven figures.   They are governed by very loose guidelines overseen by a group of producers and operate with almost no real Union protections, no wages and most importantly, no contract. 

Last year, we, as well as hundreds of other members, approached our union and asked them to look at this untenable situation.  Our Union, Actors' Equity, has taken the brave and difficult stance to support us in our endeavor to be paid for the work we do as professional actors and stage managers.  They have put forth this new proposal that would allow us to be paid minimum wage for both rehearsal and performances.  Despite this modest amount (what would be the lowest contract wage in the country), Los Angeles 99-seat Producers, Artistic Directors, and yes, some actors, are crying foul.  They say that paying actors is impossible and that "the money is just not there."  However, many of these producing organizations pay everyone else on the creative, artistic and technical teams except the actors and stage managers.  They have developed a business model that is dependent upon free labor.  This is careless, unconscionable and illegal.

What this proposal would actually do is put an end to professional actors and stage managers working for free.  Rather than allowing these theaters to continue to claim “We just can’t afford it," it encourages them to find a way to pay the professionals in their employ.  

While you, Celebrity Supporter, have had noteworthy professional careers in theatre, television and film, we are quite sure you would not be willing to be a part of an agenda that includes what can be called nothing less than union-busting.  

We have had our careers threatened by 99-seat theatre Producers and Artistic Directors because of our support for the new 99-seat proposal.  We have been publicly bullied and slandered by members of the anti-Union Pro99 simply because of our belief in change.  We are certain you would not support this type of behavior no matter what the issue. 

Here we include two(2) article/links.  The first explains quite clearly why this proposal would not be the death of small theater in Los Angeles and the other reveals the actual economies of LA’s “scrappy little theaters”. 

We encourage you to weigh ALL factors that went into the nuanced and thoughtful proposal by Actors' Equity.  We ask that you consider your fellow members: actors & stage managers who love our craft, love the theatre, but can no longer abide being the only employees not paid in a production. 

Sincerely,

The North Hollywood Ten

Anonymous

In 1947, Ten members of the Hollywood film industry publicly denounced the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), a congressional inquiry that alleged communist influence in the American Motion Picture Industry. These fearless screenwriters & directors, who became known as The Hollywood Ten.  They were blacklisted, some received jail sentences and they were banned from working at major Hollywood studios.  

Inspired by those heroes, we, humble members of Actors' Equity Association, "THE NORTH HOLLY-WOOD TEN" decry and denounce the heart-less and cavalier tactics adopted by celebrity supporters of the anti-Union Pro99.  

Though we face character assassina-tion and threats of blacklisting, THE NORTH HOLLYWOOD TEN, stand up for a fair minimum wage and a strong Union.