Actors have always understood the concept of “the gig economy”. We call ourselves “Day Players” and “Journeymen” and we are all too well aware that when one job ends it’s up to us (with the aid and assistance of our agents & managers & casting sites & workshops) to go out into the world and book another “gig”.
But what separates us from the rest of the gig world of Uber and Lyft and Handy, et al, is that 80 years ago we unionized. During the heat of the workers’ movement actors created a Guild and a Federation that looked out for us in the workplace and established base rates from which we could negotiate upwards.
Of course, many of us experience our work life with feet in both pools, supplementing decent paying union gigs with non-unionized, independent contractor jobs like table waiting & driving for Uber & Lyft. So we, more than most, know and understand what it means when we get to work a coveted union-protected job. It’s the difference between being treated as a professional and pretending to be.
There’s a battle brewing in this area, though. Look at Seattle. Where, in 2015, the city passed an ordinance allowing ride-hailing app drivers to unionize. Though it was blocked by a federal judge we can see it playing on a larger judicial stage, which we at ActorsPAC would be happy to support.
As we have always believed, working class actors have more in common with our middle class brethren than the People/OK!/US Magazines portray.