Why do actors need a Political Action Committee?
Because, to our knowledge, there isn’t one that exists.
While actors and performers and broadcasters all belong to one of the strongest unions in the country, SAG-AFTRA, there is no one galvanizing effort to support political candidates on their behalf at a time when union members need to know that someone has their backs and can give voice to their issues when the time comes.
Two of our last six Presidents have been SAG (Ronald Reagan, ex-President of the Screen Actors Guild) and SAG-AFTRA (Donald Trump) members. A remarkable percentage considering both were/are Republicans and it is the Republican Party that is rolling out a national Right-To-Work bill that will undermine the strength of unions and strip it of its funding.
With so many Republican members of its union having successfully run for office in the past (Clint Eastwood as Mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Arnold Szchwarzeneggar as Governor of California, Sonny Bono in Palm Springs and more), we can understand why it could be difficult for any union to get behind a staunchly pro-labor candidate, since most of those come from the left thus alienating a large swath of members. When members feel as though their union is engaged in political activities that are antithetical to one’s ideology, they have a propensity to want to leave their union. To go “Financial Core”. To rescind their membership as a reaction to the political position the union took and this action further erodes the ability for the union to organize work, which is a core function the union provides for the members.
If members leave the union but still retain the ability to seek and obtain union work and be bargained on behalf of by said union, eventually the union will die.
It’s important to realize that we are seeing massive changes in manufacturing jobs as they shift further and further to automation. But it’s impossible to replace actors with robots. It’s impossible to replace directors with machines. It’s impossible to replace writers, gaffers, editors, cinematographers with robots.
The Entertainment Industry is not only a massive export, responsible for billions of dollars of revenue to the U.S. it is also a large job creator responsible for employment all over the country, from Los Angeles to New York, Chicago to Atlanta, Portland to New Orleans and cities, towns and hamlets in between.
ActorsPAC is actively searching for candidates for all offices who are willing to fight for the rights of workers, for collective bargaining, for all workers, be they electricians, plumbers, teachers, police officers, pipe fitters, actors.
We believe in the rights of workers. We believe that actors are workers. And we believe that they deserve a voice.
Why not just have celebrities do the speaking for you?
Actors are not all celebrities. In fact, most of them are not. However, it is not often that politicians talk about or think about actors as workers and, instead of helping us convey the understanding that we are, indeed, a working class group of people, all too often we obscure that fact when our politicians only link arms with celebrities.
There are many who feel as though we are a group of people exemplified by it's elite class. That we show up to “work”, sit around drinking lattes all day, play pretend and make millions of dollars.
This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Sure, there are some actors who have achieved a level where their pay is commensurate with their celebrity or with their achievements. That is how businesses work and we applaud them.
We love our celebrities and are grateful every time they step out in front of an issue and use the heft of their position to shine lights on injustices and issues. And we look forward to working with them in our mission as well.
But for every star who, say, orders a cup of coffee on their way to their adventure in that big screen action flick, there is a worker who plays that barista and is there for one day, all day, and will go out into the world searching for work again the next day.
ActorsPAC was formed for ALL performers. Not just the middle class worker who is trying to make a living in their chosen trade and not just the background performer who makes the scene come alive by populating it with humanity and is also just trying to make ends meet. And we also need to help celebrities who most recently are finding themselves battling ageism in the workplace and are almost helpless to combat it when hiring services, such as iMdb advertises their ages and will not allow them to maintain that privacy. The issue of image control is also potentially damaging to those actors especially now that computer effects have made it possible and easier to import the actor’s face onto a scene, possibly without their consent.
What are ActorsPAC objectives and goals?
It is the hope that ActorsPAC can be involved in a number of union-supportive races by 2018. We are open to all levels of government and in a large number of districts and states. We hope to affect national elections in a number of states in 2020.
What is the difference between actors as workers and, well, everyone else?
Nothing. And lots.
Actors have a different job than many other workers. We don’t clock in daily to the same place but we do find ourselves on the road working like many other professionals.
A major difference is what one considers “work”. Actors may be on the set one day out of weeks or months but it is what they do on the other days that is often seen as “pursuing” work but is actually just part of the job.
On any given day actors could be driving all over their respective towns auditioning for a one shot-one day role on a tv show, or a character in a movie, or a commercial or a voice over or any host of other kinds of
When you look at the overall profession, a larger percentage of the job is just looking for work. And that takes a LOT of time.
And, since the majority of actors are not superstars, the average income of a working actor is very similar to that of a middle class union worker. In fact, it’s often much much less.
We have more in common with the average blue collar worker than one would think.
We deserve to be heard and to have a voice at the table when basic working class issues are being discussed.
Why can’t broadcasters support a candidate?
Newspeople are in the business of reporting news. Honesty is their stock in trade. They need to show as little bias as humanly possible. It’s a matter of the public’s trust.
When The Screen Actors Guild and The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists merged in 2012 it brought together a wider diversity of workers who ply their trade in front of cameras and behind microphones. it would be wrong to ask news broadcasters to have to align themselves with a particular candidate or party. For that reason it’s best for the Union to remain neutral when it comes to political support.
This is where ActorsPAC comes in.
Our agenda is to support candidates who support the issues that face actors, performers, and yes, broadcasters, directors and everyone who works in the entertainment industry. A donation to ActorsPAC is a donation to helping us work on the behalf of all those in our industry, regardless of affiliation.
Please consider a recurring donation of $5-$25 a month.