STOP UNIONBUSTING, American Academy of Dramatic Arts!
Many of us have been teaching at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts for nearly a decade or more, putting in countless hours to create an education for actors that is cohesive, thoughtful and upholds AADA's mission of excellence in actor training. We are proud and devoted to our students and the work we do every day and are proud to teach at AADA.
For years, we have been asking AADA for living wages that are fair and equitable, benefits, job security and better employment practices. Many of us have to hold down second and third jobs - as waiters, tour-guides, writers, as well as performing - just to make ends meet. Many of us have families to support, parents to care for, medical expenses and student-loan debt that we cannot pay despite working more than twice the full-time teaching hours of faculty at other institutions, but at less than half-the-rate-of-pay. We love our students and our work, but we are exhausted from the intense workload and inadequate compensation.
The pandemic has raised our collective awareness about the need for better wages, benefits and job security. These issues, coupled with years of concern surrounding AADA's hiring and inadequate faculty compensation practices has inspired us to unionize in an effort to finally create more humane working conditions. An overwhelming 75% majority of AADA’s faculty has decided to unionize and we clearly stated our intention in a letter requesting that management voluntarily recognize our union.
On Monday, July 18th, we had a meeting scheduled with AADA’s President Susan Zech where we intended to discuss this matter with her. When Ms. Zech neglected to appear at the scheduled meeting we made a video recording of our prepared statement and sent it to her, other members of management and the Board of Trustees. Then on Friday, July 29th, we learned that AADA has secured legal counsel with Clifton, Budd & DeMaria, a firm which proudly proclaims its long legacy of success in “union avoidance."
We are disappointed and shocked to see that AADA intends to fight the will of a huge majority of its dedicated faculty and, worse, intends to spend financial resources (which come mostly from student tuition) on efforts to delay or derail our union.
Until now, our voices have been largely ignored or met with lip-service or platitudes, but no meaningful action. We ask you to join us, to help raise our cry and to finally make sure our voices are heard by adding your name to the letter below, widely sharing this petition and our video, and signing up for updates here.
Thank you so much for your support!
The Association of Teachers Training Actors (ATTA), NYSUT, NEA-AFT
*********************To President Susan Zech and the Board of Trustees of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (AADA):
We urge you to voluntarily recognize your faculty's union -- the Association of Teachers Training Actors (“ATTA”) -- immediately and without further delay. Instead of wasting financial and administrative resources on an expensive, anti-worker, union-busting law firm to fight your employees, please respect their decision, recognize their union, and commence good faith negotiations.