Hollywood Unions Call on Congress to Enact Laws Advancing Diversity and Equity

Labor News, Industry News

Reprinted from Deadline Hollywood by David Robb on February 11, 2021.

Leaders of the Hollywood’s unions on Thursday outlined their legislative agenda to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in the arts, entertainment and media industries, including a call on Congress to pass a flurry of legislation to increase federal arts funding; establish diversity objectives for grant recipients; to leverage federal tax incentives to encourage diverse hiring, and to protect the rights of unions to organize nonunion workers.

“As unions, we hold a fundamental belief that diversity is a strength,” the leaders of SAG-AFTRA, the DGA, IATSE, Actors’ Equity, the WGA East and several other union leaders said in a joint statement. “We work inside and outside the traditional collective bargaining process to create more and better opportunities for underrepresented people. Smart policy solutions aimed at creating diverse talent pipelines, incentivizing diversity in hiring, and supporting collective bargaining will help our workplaces and our industries move forward.”

Those taking part in a press conference, which was moderated by Jennifer Dorning, president of the AFL-CIO’s Department of Professional Employees, included:

• David White, national executive director of SAG-AFTRA
• SAG-AFTRA national board member Michelle Hurd
• Russell Hollander, national executive director of the DGA
• Matthew Loeb, international president of IATSE
• Kate Shindle, president of Actors’ Equity
• Lowell Peterson, executive director of the WGA East
• Raymond Menard, president of the American Guild of Musical Artists
• Laura Penn, executive director of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC)
• Lisa Portes, SDC board member
• Alfonso Pollard, legislative-political director and director of diversity for the American Federation of Musicians
• Carson Grant, VP of the Guild of Italian American Actors
• Lisa Blake, VP Diversity at the Office and Professional Employees International Union. …

To achieve [their stated] goals, they said that Congress should:

● Pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act;
● Pass the Restoring Justice for Workers Act;
● Pass the Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act
● Pass the AM-FM Act; and
● Support copyright reforms aimed at combating theft of lawful content, such as reforming Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to restore balance between content creators and online platforms and ensure that creative professionals can earn a fair return for their work. …

Deadline Hollywood 2/11

About Jeffrey Burman 861 Articles
Jeff Burman served on the Guild’s Board of Directors from 1992 to 2019. He is now retired. He can be reached at [email protected].