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December 18, 2003

Actors' Equity Prepares for Upcoming Contract Negotiations With University Resident Theatre Association (U/RTA)

Health Contributions To Be A Priority, says Eisenberg

At its meeting of December 16, 2003, the Council of Actors' Equity approved proposals for the upcoming contract negotiations with the University Resident Theatre Association (U/RTA). The current agreement expires on February 29, 2004. Negotiations are scheduled to start on Wednesday, January 21, 2004 in New York City at Equity headquarters. "In light of our national health crisis and recent cutbacks by the Equity-League Health Fund, one of our top priorities will be achieving a satisfactory health rate," said Equity Executive Director Alan Eisenberg.

The University/Resident Theatre Association is the country's oldest and largest consortium of professional theatre training graduate programs and associated professional theatre companies. Founded in 1969, U/RTA provides a variety of service, management and informational programs to its members, and to non-member students, theatre professionals and producing companies. U/RTA currently has 40 member schools and affiliated theatres.

According to Equity's recently published Annual Report, the U/RTA agreement generated over $1 million in earnings for Equity members in 2002-2003, providing over 1800 workweeks and 275 jobs.

Equity Senior Business Representative Zalina Hoosein will be Chief Negotiator, assisted by Council and committee members from all three regions. The Chair of the Negotiating Committee is Equity Councillor Lynn Archer.

At the negotiations, Ms. Hoosein will be assisted by staff members Luther Goins (Central Region) and Ed Barnes (Western Region) as well as Russell Lehrer and Marty McDonough (Eastern Region). U/RTA's Chief Negotiator will be Executive Director Scott Steele.

Actors' Equity, founded in 1913, represents more than 45,000 actors and stage managers in the United States. 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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