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    Posted July 17, 2009

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CAT Agreement Addresses New Media, Includes Increase in Health Contributions

The new two-year Chicago Area Theatre (CAT) agreement includes a media fee, increases in health contributions and other improvements. A previous agreement had expired in June 2008 and was extended with increases for one year, to June 28, 2009. Negotiations with the Producers' Association of Chicago Area Theatres (PACT) took place during a period of economic uncertainty for the producers, which Equity recognized. "Like the LORT producers, the CAT producers were concerned about their unearned income. Equity answered responsibly," said Dev Kennedy, Central Regional Vice President and Chair of the Negotiating Committee, adding that, "While a wage freeze is very painful for the membership, what we received in exchange for it was very positive. A media fee, significant increases in health, elimination of the step-down, as well as quality of life issues made these negotiations successful."

Highlights of the agreement include:

  • New Media package similar to LORT, though media fee for the right of the producer to capture and use reproductions is paid out at the end of the engagement as vacation pay for not-for-profit producers in the amount of .5% of minimum per week on Tiers N, 1, 2, 3 and 4 and 1.0% of minimum per week on Tiers 5 and 6. (The 25 consecutive week vacation pay structure still exists for not-for-profits.)

  • Commercial producers will pay the media fee in the same amounts as not-for-profits and 4% vacation pay beginning in the week that contains the first paid public performance.

  • Increases in health on Tiers 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 in the first year and increases on Tiers 1,2, 3 and 4 in year two.

  • Increases in salary on Tiers 1 and 2 in both years of the agreement and an increase in Tier N salaries in year two.

  • Elimination of the CAT step-down provision, which will raise applicable minimums substantially for those theatres previously utilizing this provision.

In addition, in commercial productions, there will now be one unpaid personal day after every 26 weeks of employment; an Assistant Stage Manager is required on Tier 5, the ASM on Tiers 5 and 6 will have one week of pre-production, and if the run is six weeks or longer, a full Swing of each gender (which can be non-pros) must be hired. There are also improvements in Stage Managers' work schedules, safety provisions and a new flexibility for producers regarding show times and number of matinees per week.

The Equity negotiating team included: Dev Kennedy (Chair); David Girolmo (1st Vice Chair); Malcolm Ewen (2nd Vice Chair); Wydetta Carter; Ariane Dolan; Madeleine Fallon; Ross W. Lehman; Larry Neumann, Jr., and Richard Shavzin; Lisa Gordon and Michael Weber were Alternates, and from staff: Kathryn V. Lamkey (Chief Negotiator); Chris Provost; Luther Goins; Laura Lamoureux; Ann Gordon; Brad Bartolo, and Ashley Dawe with help from Jessica Mitolo.

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