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April 27, 2005

Council Recommends Proposed LORT Contract For Ratification

-Substantial Increases In Health Contributions Achieved-

At its meeting on Tuesday, April 26, 2005, the Council unanimously voted to recommend a new three-year LORT contract for ratification. The proposed contract will be mailed to over 6000 members who worked under the previous agreement (2002-2005), and those who worked during the extension (March 6, 2005 – April 26, 2005). Ratification ballots were mailed out on May 18th, and must be returned by Wed. June 15, 2005

Equity entered the negotiations with increased health contributions as its top priority. The intense negotiations resulted in a substantial increase and, for the first time, LORT will now pay health contribution rates in the same range as other major agreements. Developing works was another important topic and first-time language will now provide beneficial terms for both sides, allowing the theaters to develop new works while giving the actors the opportunity to continue with the project throughout its phases. Other terms include a compensation package and work rules governing topics such as raked stages, promotions, chorus requirements and advertising.

“This was an extremely tough negotiation,” said Alan Eisenberg, Equity’s Executive Director and Chief Negotiator, “because we knew that Equity members were very concerned about the health insurance. They made it clear that the Negotiating Team had to achieve a substantial increase in contributions and we did that.” Eisenberg thanked the negotiating team, chaired by Equity Councillor Robin Gammell, for its dedication and hard work.

Councillor Emeritus Carl Harms presented an engraved silver bowl to Mr. Eisenberg on behalf of the Negotiating Team as a special “thank you.” He noted that Eisenberg had successfully negotiated eight LORT contracts during his 25 years as Executive Director. Harms also thanked various Equity staff members who participated in the negotiations.

LORT, which represents more than 80 not-for-profit theaters nationwide including Lincoln Center, the Ahmanson, Long Wharf and the Guthrie, is one of Equity’s most important bargaining agreements. It generates more than 8200 individual employment contracts each year, more than any other contract including Broadway and the Road. According to the Union’s annual study of membership and employment trends, statistics show the LORT contract generated 55,270 workweeks in the 2003-2004 season. Michael Maso, Managing Director of Huntington Theatre Company in Boston, was the LORT Chief Negotiator.


Members of Equity’s 2005 LORT Negotiating Team:

Back Row (L-R)
Frank Moss (legal counsel), Joe Zaloom, Lawrence Lorczak (staff), Beverly Sloan (staff), Russell Johnson, Carl Harms, Lisa Jo Snodgrass, Gannon McHale, Jeff Williams, Robin Gammell (Chair), Davis Hall, John Holly (Western Regional Director), Bill Bateman, George Quick (staff), Kathryn V. Lamkey (Central Regional Director) and Joe Garber (Senior Bus. Rep.)

Front Row (L-R)
Linda Cameron, Susan DeGracia (staff), Alan Eisenberg (Chief Negotiator), Zalina Hoosein (Senior Bus. Rep.), Mark Zimmerman (First V.P.), Carol Waaser (Eastern Regional Director).

Team members and alternates not present for photo:
Jeanna Belkin, Tandy Cronin, Dev Kennedy (Central Regional V.P.), James Ludwig, James McDermott, Jean-Paul Richard (2nd V.P.), Ned Schmidke, Carol Schultz, Vernon Willet, Scott Watanabe





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