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   May 1, 2006

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Increases in Health, Salary Minimums Highlight New TYA Contract

Increases in both health contributions and minimum salaries highlight the new three-year Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) Contract, which was approved by Council on March 21, 2006. "Due to the economic climate, health cost demands, losses in funding and the recently enacted Federal overtime requirements for weekly salaries under $455, the negotiating team encountered many challenges at the table," said Senior Business Representative and Chief Negotiator Zalina Hoosein. "The producers were quite responsive in many areas, given the economics they face and through mutual give and take all involved came away from the negotiating table feeling that a reasonable package had been achieved."

An increase of 8.2% in health was achieved in the first year, which raises the current rate of $123 to $133. In the succeeding years of this contract, there will be a 5.5% increase in the second year, raising the rate to $140, and a 4.3% increase in the third year, bringing the rate up to $146 per week. Supplemental Workers' Compensation (SWC) increases of $2 per Actor per week were also achieved.

The TYA negotiations also resulted in the creation of two salaried Tier weekly categories. In the Tier I weekly category the team achieved a 6% salary increase over the three year life of the Agreement. In this Tier, the first year minimum will be $403, and Actors working over 40 hours per week must now be paid at "time and a half" in accordance with Federal overtime requirements.

The Tier II weekly salary category is available as an option for touring companies. Actors /Assistant Stage Managers hired under this Tier may not work for less than $455 per week and may work over 40 hours per week up to the limit previously set in the TYA contract. The Tier II weekly salary category also includes an additional duty assignment and permits the extension of the length of one work day per week from '9 out of 10" to "10 out of 12." Touring companies may also engage Actors at the Tier I minimum of $403 and pay the overtime after 40 hours.

Other gains obtained were an increase in rehearsal salary for Per Performance contracts, increase in per diem. Improvements were made in rules governing Stage Managers, auditions, costume rentals and layoffs. Additionally, Actors may now opt to participate in an employee-contribution only 401(k) plan.

Once again, reports Ms. Hoosein, "The producers proposed that 20% of the company be non-professionals. This proposal was rejected."

Scott McGowan chaired the TYA Negotiating Committee, which also included Bob Behr; Barbara Callander; Linda Cameron, from the Auditions Committee; Madeleine Fallon, P&H Trustee; Jeanne Fornadel; Hans Friedrichs; Jason Carl Kane; Robert Lydiard; Andrea McCollough; Julia Breanetta Simpson, representing the Equal Employment Opportunity Committee (EEO); Roger Preston Smith, from the Advisory Committee for Chorus Affairs (ACCA); Vernon Willet; Linda Carol Young, Stage Managers' Committee and Ruth Kramer (Alternate).

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