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August 10, 2005

Equity Reaches Tentative Agreement With 14 New England Area Theatres

Health Contribution Rate Once Again Tops Priorities

Actors’ Equity has reached a tentative three-year agreement with 14 New England Area Theatres (NEAT). The current agreement, which is set to expire September 5, 2005, will be extended (with retroactivity) to September 8, 2005 when it is expected to be ratified by Equity’s Eastern Regional Board.

Once again, Equity’s negotiations had health insurance contributions as the top priority. The NEAT Contract had a contribution just slightly over $100 for all theatres using the agreement. In year one, the new contract requires a contribution of $112 for categories 1-5 and a contribution of $121 for the remaining four categories, with an additional increase in year two. In the third year of the agreement, the contribution rate will be $136 (categories 1-5) and $141 (categories 6 –9). Supplemental Workers Compensation will be raised to $2.00, up from $1.50.

Salaries are frozen at $184 - $466 for Actors and $220 - $558 for Stage Managers in the first year of the agreement so the substantial increase in health contributions could be achieved. There will be a 2% increase in salary each year thereafter culminating at rates of $192 - $485 for Actors and $228 - $580 for Stage Managers in the third year.

Other major changes to the new contract include a ten percent increase in minimum salaries for Assistant Stage Managers in the first year with a 2% increase each following year (previously, Assistant Stage Managers were salaried the same as Actors). Dance Captains will see a $3 incremental increase in each category and there will be more Equity members in the chorus. Senior Business Rep Rick Berg served as chief negotiator for Equity and Rick Lombardo, the Artistic Director and Producer for New Repertory Theatre, served as NEAT’s chief negotiator. Mr. Lombardo also serves as the President of NEAT.

The NEAT contract creates approximately 1400 workweeks per year for the 650 Equity members in the greater Boston area. The contract is utilized by 14 theaters, including: Boston Playwrights Theatre, Boston Theatre Works, Gloucester Stage Company, Lyric Stage Company of Boston, New Repertory Theatre, SpeakEasy Stage Company, Stoneham Theatre, The Nora Theatre Company, The Publick Theatre, Inc., The Sugan Theatre Company, Inc., and Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre. Actors Shakespeare Project, The Village Theatre Project, and Providence, R.I.’s Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre are using the NEAT contract for the first time as newly –affiliated Equity theatres.

Actors' Equity Association founded in 1913, represents more than 45,000 Actors and Stage Managers in the US. 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.

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