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March 7, 2005

Actors’ Equity and LORT (League Of Resident Theaters) Reach Tentative Agreement On Three-Year Contract

-Substantial Increases In Health Contributions Achieved-

(Monday, March 7, 2005) Actors' Equity Association (Equity) announced today it has reached a tentative agreement with the League of Resident Theaters (LORT) for a new three-year contract.

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.”

At a meeting to be held in the near future, Equity’s Negotiating Team will recommend the tentative agreement to the Equity Council, the Union’s governing body, which will review the contract and may recommend ratification. If so, the new contract terms will then be sent to the 6500 Equity members who qualify to vote in the ratification process.

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.

Founded in 1913, Equity represents more than 45,000 stage actors and stage managers and 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.

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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