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June 25, 2004

Letter to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
City Hall
New York, NY 10007

Dear Mayor Bloomberg:

Every New York City resident can take pride in the contribution that Broadway makes to our city’s image and economy. It is a star among the many great institutions that define our city’s cultural life, and it is the primary driver of our city’s tourism industries.

Because of Broadway’s defining role in New York’s identity and the $3 billion it contributes annually to the economy, the members of my union are watching the ongoing Production Contract negotiations between Actors’ Equity and the League of American Theatres and Producers with great concern. This contract, which applies to all Broadway productions and major Broadway tours, expires June 27, 2004.

Equity has taken a firm position in these talks. All Broadway productions that tour must tour under an Equity contract. The Union’s Health Fund must be secured with a surplus sufficient to halt and reverse the terrible attrition in benefits and eligibility than have reached a crisis point. Stages where Equity Actors work must be safe. These issues, job security, health coverage and job safety are by no means Equity’s alone. They are the basic rights of all working Americans and the same guarantees for which this Union will also fight on behalf of its membership.

For too long Broadway producers have been allowed to take credit for the $3 billion that Broadway contributes each to the city’s economy. Tourists do not visit New York in the tens of thousands to see producers. They come to see actors on stage, the work of designers, directors and choreographers, to listen to live music and to thrill to staging that would be impossible without the finest back stage crews in the world. It is labor that keeps Broadway strong.

The members that I lead will not remain silent in the face of a threat to this vital component of our city’s identity or economy, and we urge you to join us in supporting Actors’ Equity in this struggle. If those who perform at the highest level of our nation’s cultural life are unable to sustain adequate health care or a measure of job security then no one is safe. Let’s work to ensure that Broadway and Broadway tours remain shining examples of New York City at its best.

Sincerely,

Melissa Gilbert
President
Screen Actors Guild

Patricia A. White
President
Local 764
Theatrical Wardrobe

Jorge Basso
General Secretary
Union de Actores de Madrid
Federacion de Actores del Estado Espanol

John P. Connolly
National President
AFTRA

Pamela Berlin
President
SSDC

Brian McLaughlin
President, New York City Central Labor Council

Henry Gauthier
President
Canadian Actors’ Equity Association

Joseph Scanapicco, Jr.
President, Local 751 Treasurers and Ticket Sellers

Pierre Curzi
President
Union des Artistes (Canada)

Linda Mays
National President
AGMA

Ian McGarry
General Secretary
British Equity

Simon Whipp
Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance (Australia)

Philip J. Jennings
General Secretary
Union Network International

Rita Terranova
Secretary General
Asociacion Argentina de Actores

Denys Fouqueray
Syndicat Francais des Artistes-Interpretes

Kirsti Camerer
General Secretary
Norsk Skuespillerforbund
Norwegian AEA

Tomas Bolme
President
Dominick Luquer
General Secretary
FIA





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