Equity & League to Tackle Salaries, Benefits, Foreign Talent & Web Issues in Contract Talks

News   Equity & League to Tackle Salaries, Benefits, Foreign Talent & Web Issues in Contract Talks This summer, Broadway heats up with the 2000 Production Contract talks. With roughly two weeks to go before the June 25 expiration of their contract, Actor's Equity Association and the League of American Theatres and Producers are said to be involved in challenging negotiations over the terms of a new pact.

This summer, Broadway heats up with the 2000 Production Contract talks. With roughly two weeks to go before the June 25 expiration of their contract, Actor's Equity Association and the League of American Theatres and Producers are said to be involved in challenging negotiations over the terms of a new pact.

Although both sides say they are loathe to "negotiate in the press," Playbill On-Line has learned that talks have already been scheduled all the way through the end of August.

The following summary of "negotiation issues" provides insight to the talks. The information was made available by Equity on their website. The League does not publish its own version of this information, but a source said that Equity's summary provides a useful outline of both sides in the talks.

In the Production Contract 2000 talks, Equity seeks to negotiate these issues: • Salary and per diem
• Safe and sanitary (issues dealing with smoke and fog, raked stages, stage fighting and firearms)
• Prohibition of a Monday performance after a five show weekend
• Compensation for Actors in pre-Broadway or National Tours that start in a LORT house
• Protection for Actors when a show is downsized
• The problem of non-Equity tours
• Improvements in Chorus increments and requirement for Swings
• Revising the touring rules to reflect the realities of working on the road
• Personal days
• Cutback on all the free promotion
• Assistant Stage Managers may not act as understudy

For its part in the Production Contract 2000 talks, the League seeks to negotiate these issues:
• Freeze rehearsal salary
• Reduce pension payments from 8 percent to 6 percent, thereby limiting future plan improvements and the amount of your pension upon retirement
• Reduction in health payments, thereby limiting future improvements, particularly family health coverage
• Pay rehearsal overtime in 15 minute segments, rather than hourly
• Eliminate extraordinary risk payment
• Reduce all billing penalty payments from 1/8th of contractual salary to $50.00
• The unfettered right to employ foreign Actors and companies on our stages
• Eliminate Equity’s exclusive right to make chorus determinations
• Eliminate chorus parts payments
• Require a Dance Captain only at the Producer’s discretion
• Schedule up to nine consecutive or non-consecutive layoff weeks without pay or per diem, and an additional four weeks layoff with two weeks notice and pay per diem only, for all productions
• Eliminate continuous employment during rehearsals, so that a hiatus or layoff of up to four weeks prior to the first paid public performance may be permitted without salary, benefits or per diem, provided the layoffs are agreed to in the Actor's contract
• Expand Producer rights in the area of filming and taping, including using tapes for unlimited promotional purposes
• Reduce payment for live television promotional appearances
• Making archival tapes for their own use and as a teaching tool
• Lower cast album payments
• Some reduced commercial payments
• Removing some breach penalties
• Unlimited use of footage on the Internet
• Reduction of payments to actors who appear on television in costume
• More promotion with no payment to the Actors
• Permit closing and reopening a production in less than six weeks for any reason, which would include reducing cast size and salaries
• Apply Bus and Truck touring rules to all tours. This would: Allow six performances in three days
• Permit a seven performance week and a nine performance week without additional compensation if there is a full day off between the two weeks in any case where 25 percent of the schedule includes two week engagements
• Permit just cause termination in Term Contracts and Chorus Contract
• 6 Month Riders
• Payments due an Actor who is terminated while on a Term contract or Chorus Contract with a 6 Month Rider shall be reduced by payments and benefits resulting from any 4As work. (Currently, only Equity work mitigates the payment)
• Allow "sweetening" recordings solely at the Producer’s discretion
Eliminate the requirement that a Stage Manager be present at all rehearsals
• Change the 10 out of 12 rehearsal and performance hours away from Point of Organization and previews at Point of Organization from the current limitation of 10 out of the first 12 weeks to "any 60 days" between first paid public performance through opening at Point of Organization
• Modify the Termination rule to give the Producer the exclusive right to determine if an Actor is too ill to perform
For further information visit actorsequity.org.

-- By Murdoch McBride -- by Murdoch McBride