Reprinted from Deadline Hollywood by David Robb on September 2, 2016.
The National Labor Relations Board has dismissed an unfair labor practices charge filed against Actors’ Equity by opponents of the union’s plan to require small theaters in Los Angeles to pay their actors at least minimum wage.
Some smaller playhouses here pay their actors as little as $7 a day, and opponents of the union’s plan say that making them pay minimum wage will put many small venues out of business. In their NLRB complaint, they claimed Equity breached its duty of fair representation.
“We are pleased with the NLRB decision,” Equity said in a statement. “Our policies provide for both paid and volunteer opportunities for Los Angeles members. Equity applauds the NLRB’s decision to dismiss the frivolous charge.”
California’s minimum wage is $10 an hour. Kathleen Hennessy, a spokesperson for the California State Labor Commissioner, told Deadline that stage actors are not exempt from the state’s laws. “There is no such exemption for actors at non-profit theatres.”
Opponents have also filed a suit in federal court seeking to block the union from imposing its minimum wage rule. That action is still pending.