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October 18, 2002

Actors' Equity, Ellis Island Foundation Reach Two-Year Agreement For "Embracing Freedom" at Ellis Island

Both Sides "Pleased" with New Contract

Actors' Equity and The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. have reached an agreement for 12 actors who perform in "Embracing Freedom" at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. The contract was approved by the Council of Actors' Equity at its meeting on October 15, 2002 and will be retroactive to September 29th.

The negotiations, which began after Actors' Equity filed a request for recognition with the National Labor Relations Board and won the Board-mandated election, began on August 22nd and concluded on September 26, 2002.

Equity Senior Business Representative Rick Berg was Chief Negotiator for the thespians, heading a team comprised of actors from the cast along with two Equity Councillors. The Foundation was represented by Gary E. Kelley, Vice-President and Comptroller for the Foundation.

Among the provisions of the new agreement are:

Salaries - daily salary of $115, with a 3% increase in 2004

Full Health benefits, pension and supplemental worker's compensation

Understudies - adequate understudies will be scheduled for each shift

Job security - a guarantee of 3 days of employment per week, with a right of first refusal or buy-out for 2003 unless the show is changed.

Paid sick, vacation leave, holiday pay

Improved work rules and hourly pay for calls outside of normal work day

Limits on understudy and brush-up rehearsals

Improved facilities - starting in 2003, management will make best efforts to provide two dressing rooms easily accessible to theatre.

Support services - starting in 2003, one costume for each actor. Costumes cleaned, laundered, and maintained by wardrobe personnel. Set and props maintained by professional personnel.

Substitution - actors may sub for each other with Stage Manager's approval, which shall not be unreasonably withheld.

Recognition - Equity will represent actors in any show produced on Ellis Island by the Foundation.

"We're pleased that Actors' Equity and The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation resolved their differences and completed negotiations in a fair and timely manner," said Berg. "We're looking forward to an ongoing, productive relationship with the Foundation and the establishment of an Equity theatre on Ellis Island." Kelley added,"The Foundation is very satisfied with the agreement with our actors represented by Actor's Equity, and we anticipate an even more enjoyable educational experience for the visiting public at Ellis Island."

David Lotz
Director of Communications
October 18, 2002

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