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June 16, 2005

Actors’ Equity Members Overwhelmingly Ratify New Three-Year LORT Contract

Substantial Increases In Health Contributions and First-Time Language For Developing Works Achieved

June 16, 2005 - Actors’ Equity Association (Equity) members approved the new three-year contract with the League of Resident Theatres (LORT). This new agreement, which covers more than 80 not-for-profit theaters nationwide, was overwhelmingly ratified by over 97%. Of the 2,249 valid ballots received, 2,193 were YES and 56 were NO.

The new Equity- LORT contract, which generates more than 8,200 individual employment contracts each year and is one of Equity’s most important bargaining agreements, reflects significant gains for the Union’s members. For the first time, LORT will now pay health contribution rates in the same range as other major agreements. This is another important step as Equity continues to seek increases in health care contributions to further stabilize its health fund. In the area of Developing Works, first time language was included in the contract that allows theaters to develop new works while giving the Actor the opportunity to continue with the project throughout its many phases.

Highlights of the Agreement:

  • Health Contributions – The new contract successfully raises the contribution rate 33% in all categories the first year and 46% over the term of the agreement.

  • Wages – Over the three years of the Agreement, Equity achieved increases, compounded, in all categories of theaters: 5.06% for Actors and Stage Managers in “A” and “B+” theatres; 4.04% in “B” and “C” theatres; and 2.52% in “D” theatres. Theatre categories are determined by box office income over three years and generally speak to the size of the theatre.

    Wages for three of the Tony eligible LORT theatres (Lincoln Center- Vivian Beaumont, and Roundabout Theater – American Airlines and Studio 54) and the Center Theatre Group reflect an 8.2% increase over three years. An increase of 15.32% at Manhattan Theatre Club – Biltmore was also negotiated. These salaries continue to track Production Contract minimums and will be at 80% of Production by the third year of the contract.

    Additionally, overtime rates are increased for the first time in 18 years. Rates at the “A,” “B+,” and “B” theatres are now $15 per half hour and “C” and “D” stages will now pay a rate of $12 per half hour.

  • Developmental Works—In an effort to assist theatres develop new work and to provide the Actor future rights in projects, the new Developmental Work Rule was created. Theaters are now permitted to use the Staged Reading Guidelines, giving the theatre a more flexible first phase in the creation of a project. An Actor employed in this initial step and engaged through the various stages of development (LORT Casual Employment Rider or the Experimental Theatre Contract) to the full LORT contract or other Equity may be entitled to an offer to perform the role or receive three weeks’ minimum salary under the subsequent Equity contract.

Founded in 1913, Equity represents more than 45,000 stage actors and stage managers and 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.

Media Contacts:
David Lotz / Director of Communications / 212-869-8530
Maria Somma, Spokesperson / 212-869-8530 / 917-386-7129

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