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   May 10, 2006

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Equity Gains at Ellis Island

Photo by Yvonne Stepanow

Equity has negotiated a new three-year contact covering about a dozen Actors at Ellis Island. The Equity members are part of Embrace Your Freedom, a 20-minute presentation about immigrants who have come through Ellis Island. The show is performed seven times a day, seven days a week in a 50-seat theatre. An individual actor works five consecutive seven-hour days a week with two consecutive days off.

In the new agreement, salaries are increased by 3% the first year, 2% the second year, and 3% the third year, bringing the minimum weekly salary to $618 this summer for the five day work week. Health rate increases substantially each year.

Actors at Ellis Island voted in 2002 to have Equity as their bargaining representative with the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. The first agreement was for two-years. A one-year contract was signed in 2004.

Business Representative Gary Dimon negotiated the contract, and said, "Our real achievement occurred in the negotiation a year ago when the work went from part-time to full-time. It now pays a living wage and has a reasonable schedule." Councillor Thomas J. Miller advised the staff negotiator.

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