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January 28, 2004

State of the Union: Equity Executive Director Alan Eisenberg Visits Central, Western Regional Boards to Report On Road Campaign, Upcoming Production Contract Negotiations and Administrative Changes
Equity Executive Director Alan Eisenberg kicked off the New Year with visits to Equity’s Central Regional office in Chicago (January 5) and Western Regional office in Los Angeles (January 12), to present a report on the current status of the Road Campaign, and the upcoming Production Contract negotiations upcoming administrative changes. The meetings were chaired by Equity Central Regional Vice President Dev Kennedy and Equity Western Regional Vice President Doug Carfrae respectively.

Administrative Review

Eisenberg reported that Steve DiPaola has been upped to National Director for Administration. “Steve has come in with great energy, and has a great working relationship with the regional offices,” said Alan. In the next few months, Mr. DiPaola will undertake a complete review of Equity’s current administrative procedures, policies and staffing, to improve Equity’s efficiency and streamline the organization in order to help it serve the needs of the membership more effectively. DiPaola said, “I’ve been fortunate to be able to spend a good deal of time in the Central and Western Regional offices over the years while working on various projects. That time has helped give me a better understanding of the needs of those regions.”

Rising Health Costs, Non-Equity Tours

Rising health costs, and the increasing loss of workweeks from non-Equity tours continue to be “front burner” issues facing the Union. Mr. Eisenberg discussed the impact that these issues will have on the upcoming Production Contract negotiations this coming spring and reported that the Equity Trustees of the Equity-League Trust Funds were meeting on January 21, 2004 in New York, to discuss the ongoing health crisis.

Mr. Eisenberg gave an update on the current Road Campaign, which was authorized by Council this past year to deal with the increasing erosion of workweeks by non-Equity tours. This past fall, the campaign targeted the non-Equity tour of MISS SAIGON (produced by Big League Theatricals), mounting demonstrations in Boston, Philadelphia and Newark. On October 29th, a highly successful rally in Times Square, featuring a performance of “The Jobless Chronicles” along with prominent celebrities and labor officials, brought Equity’s message to the Big Apple.

Current Activities:

  • Equity is continuing to urge the public to boycott the production of MISS SAIGON as well as other non-Equity tours, and is reaching out to media in various cities to raise public awareness about the issues.
  • Internal Organizer John V. Fahey is continuing to make his presentation about “the crisis on the road” to Broadway casts, road shows and area membership meetings.
  • Equity has filed demands for financial information from the League of American Theatres and Producers as part of its preparation for the upcoming Production Contract negotiations.
  • A 90th Anniversary gala is being planned on March 29th at The Players in New York, to generate media interest and build union solidarity.
  • Production Contract Committees in all three regions are meeting to review proposals for the upcoming negotiations.



 

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