If an actor joins Equity, they also have to give up looking for non-Equity work, which is no longer allowed at that point. They will be competing with people who have Broadway and regional credits, and if past is prelude, many don't work as much after joining Equity as they did in non-Equity. Plus the initiation fee is quite high, even with a few years to pay if off, and there are ongoing semi-annual dues too. I don't belong to social media, but I imagine it's being hotly debated by members on facebook, etc., especially since this was done by union committees or leadership without any kind of vote or input from the general membership. It's also for a limited amount of time (2 years as of now), so perhaps it is about needing money?