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Posted November 2, 2005

CAT Contract Features Significant Increase in Health Contributions

Health contributions were the number one priority in the negotiations for a new three-year Chicago Area Theatre (CAT) Agreement, and significant increases were achieved. The Agreement, negotiated with the Producers Association of Chicago Area Theatres (PACT), runs to June 2008.

Health payments in the first six months of the Agreement codify the 23.4% temporary increase on Tier 6, and the 10 to 28.7% increase on all other CAT tiers. Producers will pay additional increases in each subsequent year.

As a result of these increases in the health rate, minimum salaries will freeze for the duration of the Agreement on Tiers 1 through 4, with 2% increases in the second and third years on Tiers 5 and 6.

"The health fund was our most significant concern--any money that was available went into that arena," said Central Regional Director Kathryn V. Lamkey, Equity's Chief Negotiator for the Agreement. "Our hope is that in three years' time, the economic condition of our health plan and our theatres will have improved so that we can focus once again on salaries and other financial aspects of the Agreement."

In addition the new CAT Agreement allows for some scheduling flexibility, particularly over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays; Supplemental Workers' Compensation increases to $1.75 per Actor per week; a Side Letter has been developed for "marathon theatrical events," allowing for new programming possibilities, and there is a 10% increase in the hourly rate for work done on the Per Performance and Developmental Project Side Letters.

The CAT Agreement is used in theatres with 900 seats or less within 35 miles of the Chicago city limits and covers both commercial and not-for-profit producers.

The Equity negotiating team included Dev Kennedy (Chair); Robert Behr, Cheryl-Lynn Bruce, Madeleine Fallon, Lisa Gordon, Ron Keaton and Liz Pazik, CAT Committee members. Staff was represented, along with Ms. Lamkey, by Senior Business Representative Christine Provost and Business Reps Susan de Gracia, Luther Goins and Karyn Dawidowicz.

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