Actors’ Equity Association (Equity) released a statement last week in response to Missouri being among the first states to terminate its federal pandemic unemployment insurance program early.
Missouri stopped paying the federally funded $300-per-week supplement and issuing payments under other federal unemployment relief programs on June 12, cutting the weekly support payment for unemployed workers in Missouri from $620 to $320.
In announcing the decision, Gov. Mike Parson argued it was necessary to force people back to their jobs, even though many of those jobs lost to the COVID-19 pandemic have yet to return.
WOULD RETURN IF THEY COULD
“This policy completely ignores the fact that many jobs in the arts sector have not returned,” said Andrea Hoeschen, Central Regional director for Equity. “If our members in Missouri could go back to work, they would not hesitate. Theaters that have been closed for over a year need time to prepare for reopening, to say nothing of the fact that the public is not yet ready to attend live events in full force. Our members need the unemployment program to carry them through the coming months as the industry returns in fits and starts.”
Actors’ Equity Association is currently urging an extension of federal pandemic unemployment insurance past its proposed September expiration date.