David Starr Talks Trying To Unionise Professional Wrestling In The United States
It's going to take some time...
In 2019, David Starr established We The Independent, an organisation designed to raise funds to help professional wrestlers unionise. So far, the organisation has mainly focussed on the UK with its partnership with Equity but has already led to some changes in the industry as EVOLVE now pay all of their employees.
During a recent interview with Patches Chance at Daily DDT, Your Favourite Wrestler's Favourite Wrestler discussed trying to unionise professional wrestling in the United States.
Starr said: "We're in the earliest of early stages of talking to Equity US. When I say earliest of early stages, that means we've reached out. We've heard from some people who work for Equity in the US. I've talked to them through email and DMs and stuff like that, but not anybody who's in a position of power to make any decisions.
"The biggest difference between Equity in the US versus Equity in the UK is, obviously, Equity in the US involves healthcare. So I think there's a certain threshold amount of money that you'd have to make through your entertainment trade in order to qualify for Equity's healthcare plan, but that would still be fantastic. That would be fantastic."
Starr also mentioned the possibility of working with other unions beyond Equity. He added: "Based on the conversations that I've had, there's a lot of entertainment unions in the US that would be interested in encompassing professional wrestling, but I think for the most part when you get to these big stages they're very focussed on the big stages. They're very focussed on TV work, where what we have control of is independent wrestlers, freelance wrestlers, and people like that."
The Bernie Sanders Of Professional Wrestling explained one of the problems he's had is trying to overcome the mentality of a lot of wrestlers, as he feels many are almost waiting for promotions to tell them it's okay to unionise.
He elaborated: "From talking to people about what they can do, how there can be organisation happening, it's a long process, and I think a lot of people are almost like waiting for permission. That's the big thing that I've been kind of getting. I've really come to terms with this. We need to stop this mentality as if the company needs to allow us to organise, or the top guys need to allow us to organise. No. We can just do it. We don't need permission. Workers and labour in general always has and always will have and does have right now the leverage. Always. Labour always has the leverage and labour always has the power. We just need to recognise that as workers and wield it."