NEW YORK CITY: Actors’ Equity Association announced yesterday that it has reached a tentative agreement for a new five-year contract with the League of Resident Theatres (LORT) for actors and stage managers. Key provisions include substantial salary increases ranging from 16 percent to 81.7 percent over the life of the contract. Upon ratification, members will also receive raises retroactive to Feb. 13, 2017, when the original LORT agreement expired.
The agreement increases the number of contracts for Principal and Chorus members, as well as stage managers. It also raises pay for stage managers during tech week and increases the increments for dance captains and fight captains. Preventive physical therapy will be required on shows longer than eight weeks that involve significant choreography. And the agreement will add $1.7 million in employer contributions to the Equity Health Fund.
“This was an incredibly difficult negotiation for Equity, but in the end, we have a contract that will deliver immediate wage increases to Equity members and create more work opportunities for Equity principal actors, members of the chorus, and stage managers over the contract,” said Mary McColl, lead negotiator and Equity executive director. “We have been making steady improvements in all our agreements over the past bargaining cycles, but we have made the broadest and deepest achievements yet in this contract. This contract may have taken months of work, but it will make a difference for Equity members on day one.”
LORT theatres are the second largest employers of Equity members after signatories to the Production Contract, and they are the field’s largest not-for-profit employer. The agreement comes after two rounds of negotiation in February and May. The tentative agreement was unanimously recommended for approval by Equity’s negotiating committee and overwhelmingly recommended by Equity’s national council. Equity members who have worked under the LORT contract during the last four years will have 9 days to approve the contract.
Jeff Williams, chair of Equity’s LORT negotiating committee, called it “the strongest LORT contract…in more than a decade.” The LORT agreement marks the third major contract negotiated by Equity in recent years. In 2016, Equity reached a five-year agreement with the Off-Broadway League that reunited smaller Off-Broadway theatres, previously known as ANTC, with the commercial and not-for-profit theaters represented by the Off-Broadway League. In 2015, Equity reached a four-year agreement with the Broadway League, an agreement that included wage increases in each year of the contract.
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