Actors' Equity and Broadway Producers Return to Negotiating Table July 6

News   Actors' Equity and Broadway Producers Return to Negotiating Table July 6
Actors' Equity and Broadway producers will return to the negotiating table on July 6, following a nine-day hiatus.

Equity and the Leauge issued a joint press release on July 1 stating, "Actors' Equity Association and the League of American Theatres and Producers, and its coordinating bargaining partners, jointly announced today that negotiations will resume Tuesday, July 6, 2004, at 1 PM. Performances will continue into the foreseeable future."

The two sides have not met since talks broke down during the final hours of Sunday June 27. Each side said the other walked out of talks. The new set of talks effectively extends the current contract, which expired on June 27 at midnight.

The AEA governing council met Tuesday June 29 afternoon to discuss the stalled negotiations.

According to the New York Post, both parties were urged to reconvene by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg played an important role in ended the musicians' union strike, which shut down Broadway for four days in March 2003.

The major points of the new Production Contract between actors and stage managers and the producers of Broadway and touring shows are health-care issues and non-union tours. A sorer point, however, may be the Equity demand that League producers uniformly pledge to cease licensing Broadway shows to companies that create non-union tours. According to the Post, producers have bristled as this idea, which they consider unacceptable interference in business decisions that should be theirs alone to make. A strike would shut down almost every Equity tour (there are 11 on the road) and most Broadway shows except those operating under a separate agreement between Actors' Equity Association and the League of Resident Theatres (LORT) — The Frogs at Lincoln Center Theater, Sight Unseen at Manhattan Theatre Club's Biltmore Theatre and Roundabout Theatre Company's Assassins and After the Fall.

The contract between Equity and the League expired midnight Sunday, June 27. The union and the League will continue operating under the previous contract until there is either a work stoppage or a new contract.

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