The Equity Council, the governing body of Actors Equity Association has unanimously approved the new Production Contract and will mail ballots to its membership recommending their ratification of the deal on Nov. 20. Equity’s mainstay, the new production contracts cover work done for the League of American Theatres and Producers, Buena Vista (Disney), and Livent/TCN.
The old production contract, which covered employment for actors on Broadway and national tours, expired on June 25, 2000. Upon ratification, the new contract will be retroactive to the expiration date. Equity says its new four-year contract will run through June 27, 2004.
According to a prepared statement from Equity, “Members who are either currently employed, or who worked under the respective contracts during the prior term (starting July 1, 1996) will receive ballots. If a member has worked under more than one type of contract (e.g, League and Disney), he or she is eligible to vote for each contract.”
Equity’s deadline for the return of completed ballots is 5:30 PM on Mon., Dec. 18. Ballots should be sent to Equity's National Office at 165 W. 46 St., New York, NY.
As reported earlier, in addition to a “14.7 percent wage increase in minimum salaries, various increments or payments for duties performed by chorus actors, swings, dance captains, stage managers and understudies,” the union boasts the “establishment of a 401K plan, which will go into effect in the second year of the agreement. The 401K will be funded by a 3 percent employer contribution, based on 3 percent of an actors' contractual salary. The Actor can also contribute to the fund, yielding important tax deferrals." "I am extremely pleased with the new contract," said Equity executive director Alan Eisenberg. "There are significant improvements, including higher salaries, and long-overdue chorus increments. Equity's Negotiating Team and staff worked tirelessly to achieve the best possible deal."
-- By Murdoch McBride