Saturday, February 15, 2014

Dues Referendum 2014 - guest post

Our organization is only as strong as we make it.

As one of 6000 members of Canadian Actors Equity who works hard on every contract I manage to get, and for every dollar I earn, I know I am not alone in wanting the best value for my money. I, too, will have a hard time budgeting to pay an additional $45 per year, and parting with an extra 0.25%, in dues, from the income I do earn. But, I also know that if we Equity members continue to pay only $135 in dues, we are wasting our money: that sum is simply no longer enough. We’ve already had cuts to professional development programs, and response time at Equity offices is lagging from a bare bones staff – what’s next on the chopping block? Equity negotiates annual increases to our minimum fees roughly in keeping inflation – the cost of living. I think it’s only fair that we respond in kind, to have our dues keep up with inflation – the cost of doing business. In particular given that the business in question is that of protecting our best interests – our careers. 

My vote since the last dues referendum hasn’t changed. Two years ago, just knowing that the cost of dues hadn’t increased in over a decade was enough justification for me. (Is there anything else that hasn’t increased in price since the mid-90’s?) Nonetheless, I have been very interested to see our council’s response to the results over the past two years – and it’s clear that they’ve been listening to us, and what we need from our organization. At the dues referendum info session I was able to attend, I heard several fantastic opportunities for Equity to invest in increasing the efficiency of resources – from online dues payment, to electronic contracts, to improved communication with not only existing, but also prospective, members. I also heard that streamlining and improving efficiency costs money. These opportunities, and many more, are ones that I would love to have available to me, and my colleagues – and I’m willing to invest the extra 12 cents a day to make them happen. The future of Equity depends on it – our Association is only as strong as we make it.

Melania Radelicki
Member, Stage Management

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