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Equity, League strike deal

Tentative pact made for production contract

Stage thesps’ union Actors Equity Assn. and the Broadway League, the trade association of legit producers and presenters, have made a tentative pact for the production contract, the agreement that governs the employment of actors and stage managers in commercial Broadway productions and tours.

Good for four years, the new deal would expire in September 2015. Few details were made public prior to the union’s upcoming ratification vote on the pact, but among the provisions were annual wage increases as well as the formation of a new Labor-Management Committee.

The new body would aim to reduce grievances and more nimbly address work-related situations regarding safety and other issues. Group, to be made up of an equal number of union reps and producers, would meet quarterly.

Formation of the committee seems prompted in part by last season’s urgent, high-profile labor and safety concerns arising on “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.”

The new overall deal between Equity and the League will first be reviewed by Equity’s governing body, the National Council. If the council gives the pact a green light, the deal then goes up for a ratification vote by union members who have worked under the production contract since 2004.

No exact timeline for that process has yet been laid out, although a rep for Equity estimated the vote could take place in early December. Once approved, the contract would be retroactive to Sept. 25.

The latest round of labor talks seems to have gone smoothly for both sides, with barely a peep heard in legit circles about the negotiations. Although often such contractual wrangling is largely collegial, talks do sometimes deteriorate, as evidenced by the stagehands’ strike in 2007 and the musicians’ strike in 2003, both of which shut down the Rialto for multiple performances.

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