Equity-LORT Talks Begin Again on Feb. 28

News   Equity-LORT Talks Begin Again on Feb. 28
Talks between Actors' Equity Association and the League of Regional Theaters (LORT) will recommence on Feb. 28, Back Stage reported.

The negotiations first got underway on Jan. 24 at the union's headquarters in New York City.

The current contract is set to expire on March 6.

According to the trade weekly, Equity's new agreement proposal calls for salary increases of 3 percent in the contract's first year and 4 percent in both the second and third years, plus an increase in overtime rates. LORT, meanwhile, wants to freeze all salaries, increments, overtime, and per diem rates. LORT also want to reduce salaries in experimental theatres.

Equity is also fighting for higher contributions from LORT theatres to health care funds.

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 generation 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. Equity executive director and chief negotiator Alan Eisenberg said in a statement, "LORT is one of Equity's most important bargaining agreements, generating more than 8,200 individual employment contracts each year, more than any other contract including Broadway and the Road."

Equity's negotiating team will be comprised of 18 members, representing Equity's three regions and job functions, including principals, chorus and stage management. The chair of the negotiating team will be Equity councillor Robin Gammell. In addition to Eisenberg, Equity's Eastern Regional Director Carol Waaser, senior business representatives Zalina Hoosein, and Joe Garber, business representatives Susan DeGracia, Lawrence Lorczak, Beverly Sloan and George Quick will participate from the union's staff.

Michael Maso, general manager of the Huntington Theatre Company, will serve as the LORT team's chief negotiator.

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