February 15, 2005
EISENBERG TO EXIT ACTORS’ EQUITY IN OCT0BER 2006
(New York, NY – February 15, 2005) Alan Eisenberg, the Executive Director of Actors' Equity Association, announced today he would not seek another term when his agreement with the Union expires in October 2006.
Eisenberg, who will have served 25 years as the Executive Director in 2006, made his announcement at the monthly meeting of the Council of Actors’ Equity, the Union’s governing body. In his remarks, Mr. Eisenberg said, “It has been an honor and a privilege to represent the Council and American Stage Actors and Stage Managers. I have always tried to carry out this responsibility with dedication to, and pride in the membership. I have always been and continue to be committed to helping all our Actors.” With 20 months remaining in his contract, Eisenberg spoke of projects he plans to complete including affordable housing for actors, an invigorated Actors’ Equity Foundation and an expanded communication/education campaign, among others.
Under his leadership, Equity investments have increased in value from $1.7 million to more than $22 million. Between 1981 and the present, membership has increased from 28,678 to 46,000 and workweeks have increased by more than 70,000 weeks annually. Earnings for Actors have jumped from $118.6 million to $250.3 million- more than 42% above inflation in this period. He negotiated an employer-paid 3% 401(k) into the 1996 Production Contract, one of the first such benefits in the industry.
The recent incursion of non-Equity tours into traditionally Equity-based venues nationwide, was addressed in the newly negotiated Production Contract through the innovative Experimental Touring Program proposed by Eisenberg and his negotiating team. Designed to foster more Equity tours, the program offers a series of tiers for which musicals can qualify and thus tour as Equity productions. The first production under the program, AIDA, began its tour just five months after the contract was ratified.
Actors’ Equity President Patrick Quinn said “During his tenure, Alan has led Equity to significant achievements. His most recent accomplishment was the newly created Experimental Touring Program in the Production Contract. His dedication to Equity and his clear vision for our Union have benefited our members immeasurably. Alan’s service to our Union has been historic. CATS may hold the record for the longest running show on Broadway, but in our eyes, Alan will always hold that title.”
In addition to his position as Executive Director, Mr. Eisenberg serves as vice-president of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids, and a board member for the Actors’ Equity Foundation, the Actors’ Fund, Career Transition for Dancers and the Non-Traditional Casting Project. He is a member of the Tony Administration Committee and the co-chair of the Coalition of Broadway Unions and Guilds. Mr. Eisenberg is a vice-president of the Department of Professional Employees, a division of the AFL-CIO. He has been a visiting professor at the Yale School of Drama since 1981 and is currently a guest lecturer at Brooklyn College of Arts Management, has lectured at Columbia School of Arts Management and has served as a panelist at the National Endowment of the Arts.
Mr. Eisenberg is a graduate of the University of Michigan and New York University School of Law. He practiced labor law representing trade unions, particularly the newspaper industry, before joining Equity.
Actors' Equity Association (AEA or ‘Equity’), founded in 1913, represents more than 45,000 Actors and Stage Managers in the United Stages. Equity seeks to advance, promote and foster the art of live theatre as an essential component of our society. Equity negotiates wages and working conditions, providing a wide range of benefits, including health and pension plans. AEA is a member of the AFL-CIO and is affiliated with FIA, an international organization of performing arts unions.
I will have been executive director for twenty-five years when my current agreement with Equity expires in October 2006 and I have decided to tell you today that this will be my last term with the union.
I have been privately debating the idea of moving on since last summer. To be sure, letting go after so many years is not easy, and there are mixed feelings about this decision; however, I feel viscerally that it is the right thing to do and the right time to do it. Twenty-five years is long enough, as Jefferson said, of “this splendid misery.”
I am informing you today so that there is sufficient time to find a successor and to provide for an orderly transition. The next Executive Director will inherit a very strong union:
I have a number of projects that I wish to complete in the next 20 months—affordable housing for actors; a communication/education campaign directed to the public, the industry and current and future members as to the value of, and need for, this Association of professional actors; an invigorated Actors' Equity Foundation; and a number of internal governance issues, which I believe will make the union a much more effective organization.
It has been an honor and a privilege to represent the Council and American Stage Actors and Stage Managers. I have always tried to carry out this responsibility with dedication to, and pride in, the membership. I have always been and continue to be committed to helping all our Actors—to furthering their lives, their careers and the future of their craft. I still have 20 months at the helm, and there is much still to be done.