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December 03, 2003

AEA Council Approves Mandatory Meetings With Broadway Casts As Union Prepares For Upcoming Production Contract Negotiations in 2004

Non-Equity Tours, Health Contributions Will Be Key Issues in Upcoming Negotiations

The Council of Actors' Equity, at its meeting on November 18, 2003, approved the recommendations of the President's Planning Committee and Equity Executive Director Alan Eisenberg, for mandatory membership meetings with Broadway casts (and road tours) as part of the Union's preparations for the upcoming Production Contract Negotiations in 2004. The current pact with the League of American Theatres and Producers expires on June 27, 2004.

"It is imperative that all Actors and Stage Managers working under the Production Contract attend these meetings," said Eisenberg. "Equity is keenly interested in hearing from our members about any and all issues, both positive or negative, in order to help us prepare for this seminal negotiation. There could be a bumpy patch next June when the Contract expires."

Eisenberg will be Equity's Chief Negotiator during the negotiations. "Some of the key issues will be the licensing by Equity producers to non-union producers - often through Equity producers creating/backing a non-union company - and achieving an acceptable increase in health contributions," he emphasized.

Equity Senior Business Representative Ken Greenwood reports that the Production Contract Committee, chaired by Equity First Vice President Mark Zimmerman, will review suggestions from members who have worked under the agreement since June 26, 2000. "Each and every suggestion will be read and discussed by the Committee." Among the rules and issues that the Committee considers are: health contributions, housing, organizing non-union tours, overtime, per diem, publicity, rehearsal, rest period, reopening, safe and sanitary issues, salary, taping, transportation, touring and unpaid leave.

Equity President Patrick Quinn said: "The membership of Equity, especially those who regularly work under this contract, will be watching these negotiations very closely and have already made it quite clear that the loss of Equity work weeks on the road is totally unacceptable. This issue has rallied the membership in substantive numbers and will ultimately be the flashpoint of these negotiations. As always, Equity looks forward to a fair and just agreement that will benefit not only the parties involved, but also the theatergoers of this country."

Mark Zimmerman reiterated Quinn's remarks, adding "We need, and are counting on, support from all of our members in the upcoming negotiations."

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