The membership of Actors’ Equity Association, the union that represents theater actors and stage managers, has ratified a new five-year contract with the League of Resident Theaters, the national network of 72 nonprofit theaters around the country.
Equity reps touted what they called major gains in the deal, including salary increases, improved pay for stage managers during tech week and an increase in the number of Equity hires required per production. “In some of these areas, we haven’t had movement in decades,” said Jeff Williams, the chair of the Equity committee that negotiated the contract with LORT.
The pact was hammered out over two rounds of talks in February and May. Equity members ratified the new deal over a ten-day voting period that ended June 23.
The new contract also includes provisions for preventive physical therapy for choreography-heavy shows that run longer than eight weeks, and ensures the infusion of $1.7 million in employer contributions to Equity’s health fund. The salary increases, which according to Equity range from 16% to more than 80%, are retroactive, reaching back to Feb. 13, the expiration date of the last contract.
“The artistic contributions of the professional actors and stage managers covered in this agreement are a core part of each LORT theater’s ability to produce artistically excellent work for our communities,” said Tim Shields, the managing director of Princeton’s McCarter Theater and LORT’s lead negotiator for the contract.
The new LORT deal comes a year after Equity negotiated a five-year contract with the Off Broadway League in 2016. The union’s most recent pact with the Broadway League was a four-year agreement made in 2015.
Equity represents more than 51,000 stage pros around the country. LORT’s membership encompasses large-scale companies, such as New York’s Roundabout Theater and L.A.’s Center Theater Group, as well as smaller organizations such as PlayMakers Repertory in North Carolina.