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Unions & Employers Urge Continued Arts Funding

AFM united with a diverse group of employers and other entertainment unions in urging Congress to continue funding the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

In a letter sent to Congress today, the union-employer coalition called on lawmakers to maintain current funding levels for the NEA, NEH, and CPB in next year’s budget. The group emphasized the good jobs supported by the three institutions in every state.

The arts and entertainment industry employs over four million people in all 50 states and contributes over $700 billion to the nation’s annual economic output—equivalent to 4.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). NEA, NEH, and CPB funding supports many arts and entertainment jobs providing opportunities for Americans to earn a living in family-supporting, middle class careers—particularly for those who do not live near major cultural centers like Los Angeles and New York.

Besides adding value to the American economy, the group noted that the NEA, NEH, and CPB help ensure that people throughout the country—especially children—have an opportunity to explore and develop their creative instincts. Nurturing the next generation of creators and innovators is vital to ensuring the United States maintains a competitive and creative workforce.

Today’s letter follows up on a letter unions sent to Congress in April opposing President Donald Trump’s proposed elimination of the NEA and NEH, as well as cutting federal funding for the CPB. Earlier this month a federal budget was passed that fully funds the NEA along with the NEH and prevents the privatization of the CPB through September 30th. The funding levels for the 2018 federal budget are unknown.

The organizations that have signed-on to today’s letter include:

  • Actors’ Equity Association
  • American Federation of Musicians
  • American Guild of Musical Artists
  • American Guild of Variety Artists
  • Atlanta Ballet
  • Ballet West
  • Broadway League
  • Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO
  • Directors Guild of America
  • Guild of Italian American Artists
  • Houston Ballet
  • Houston Grand Opera
  • International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
  • League of Resident Theatres
  • Metropolitan Opera
  • Motion Picture Association of America
  • New York City Ballet
  • New York City Opera
  • Off-Broadway League
  • Office and Professional Employees International Union
  • Recording Industry Association of America
  • SAG-AFTRA
  • San Francisco Opera
  • Stage Directors and Choreographers Society
  • Thirteen/WNET
  • Tulsa Ballet
  • WLIW
  • Writers Guild of America, East