This new agreement, which covers more than 80 not-for-profit theatres nationwide, was overwhelmingly ratified by more than 97 percent of membership. Of the 2,249 valid ballots received, 2,193 were in favor and 56 were opposed.
The negotiations first got underway on Jan. 24 at the union's headquarters in New York City. Talks recommenced on Feb. 28. The current contract was set to expire on March 6.
According to an Equity release, the talks resulted in a substantial increase in health insurance contributions on the part of LORT companies. LORT will now pay health contribution rates in the same range as other major agreements. Also, a new arrangment will allow Equity actors the opportunity to continue with a developing project throughout its many phases.
Other terms included "a compensation package and work rules governing topics such as raked stages, promotions, chorus requirements and advertising."
The LORT contract is used by 80 nonprofit theatre across the United States, including New York City's powerful Lincoln Center Theater and Roundabout Theatre Company. As far as the generating of jobs is concerned, it is the most important pact Equity governs over. The LORT contract was responsible for 55,270 work weeks in the 2003-2004 season, representing 15.4 percent of all Equity earnings.