Hillary Clinton has been endorsed by the Actors’ Equity Association, marking the first time in the union’s 103-year history that it has backed any political candidate.
“Our union has historically chosen to remain non partisan and above the fray,” said Kate Shindle, president of the association. “But at such a critical time in our country’s history, this union does not have that luxury if we hope to protect our members. We have to fight with everything we have for our survival.”
Although she did not mention Clinton’s rival Donald Trump by name, Shindle said that “God forbid that we stand passively on the sidelines and watch as some of these people get elected, people who aggressively want to dismantle unions.”
The executive director of the union, Mary McColl, advised the union’s executive council that “if you look back at your history, you have taken stands on many occasions. You have been leaders and staked out political positions opposing blacklisting and segregation; you have marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. You have stood up and led the charge at key moments when society had tears in the fabric. I think this is one of those moments in time when you must stand again.”
The union also cited other issues that it identified as “core values,” including fair pay and anti-discrimination in the workplace, as well as arts funding, affordable housing and single-payer healthcare.
The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees endorsed Clinton earlier this year. A spokeswoman for SAG AFTRA said that the union does not endorse or contribute to candidates.