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June 1, 2004

Increase in Health Contributions Highlights New CAT Contract

An increase in health contributions was Equity's priority in negotiations with the Producers' Association of Chicago Area Theatres (PACT) for a new Chicago Area Theatre (CAT) contract. This was achieved, as producers responded to Equitys needs.

Rates increase from the current $95 per actor per week to $100, effective immediately, and $110, effective June 28, 2004 for Tiers 1 and 2 and to $115 in Tier 3. In Tier 4, the rate goes from $99 to $100 to $115; in Tier 5, from $102 to $107 to $127 and in Tier 6, from $102 to $107 to $132.

In order to achieve these increases, the negotiating team agreed to lower salary increases or a freeze at the current rates. Current minimum salaries for Actors range from $152 weekly in Tier 1 to $666.00 in Tier 6. Stage Manager minimums go from $186.25 in Tier 1 to $796.50 in Tier 6. There will be an increase in Tier 1 effective January 1, 2005 and in Tiers 5 and 6 as of August 30, 2004 for both Actors and Stage Managers. In addition, all increments have been converted to percentages of minimum salary at each tier. The change results in an increase in payments on Tiers 5 and 6 where they are actually utilized

Negotiations took place on January 21, 22 and 23, 2004 and the contract was ratified by the Central Regional Board on February 23. Central Regional Director Kathryn V. Lamkey was Equity's Chief Negotiator and Central Regional Vice-President Dev Kennedy chaired the negotiating team .

"There was an urgent need in this negotiation for increased health contributions, and we are pleased that we were able to achieve this," said Ms. Lamkey.

The CAT contract governs employment at more than 50 theatres in Chicago and environs, from Chicago Shakespeare and Steppenwolf to Victory Gardens and many small off-loop houses. In the 2002-2003 season, the agreement generated over 7,500 work weeks and more than $3.6 million in earnings for Equity Actors and Stage Managers.

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