Equity & LORT Reach a New Five-Year Agreement

by Michael Eddy
Actors’ Equity & League of Resident Theaters (LORT) reach a new five-year agreement
Actors’ Equity & League of Resident Theaters (LORT) reach a new five-year agreement

Actors’ Equity Association announced that it has reached a tentative agreement for a historic new five-year contract with the League of Resident Theaters (LORT) for actors and stage managers. Key provisions of the agreement include substantial salary increases ranging from 16 percent to 81.7 percent over the life of the contract. Upon ratification, members will also receive raises retroactive to Feb. 13, 2017, when the original LORT agreement expired.

The agreement increases the number of contracts for Principal and Chorus members, as well as stage managers. It also improves pay for stage managers during tech week and increases the increments for dance captains and fight captains. Preventive physical therapy will be required on shows longer than eight weeks that involve significant choreography. And the agreement will add $1.7 million in employer contributions to the Equity Health Fund.

“This was an incredibly difficult negotiation for Equity, but in the end, we have a contract that will deliver immediate wage increases to Equity Members and create more work opportunities for Equity principal actors, members of the chorus and stage managers over the contract,” said Mary McColl, Lead Negotiator and Executive Director of Actors’ Equity. ‘We have been making steady improvements in all our agreements over the past bargaining cycles but we have made the broadest and deepest achievements yet in this contract. This contract may have taken months of work, but it will make a difference for Equity members on day one.”

LORT is the second largest employer of Equity members after the Production Contract and the largest not-for-profit employer. This groundbreaking agreement comes after two rounds of negotiation in February and May. The tentative agreement was unanimously recommended for approval by Equity’s Negotiating Committee and overwhelmingly recommended by Equity’s National Council. Equity members who have worked under the LORT contract during the last four years will now have 10 days to approve the contract.

“I’m thrilled to be able to report this is the strongest LORT contract we negotiated in more than a decade,” said Jeff Williams, Chair of Equity’s LORT Negotiating Committee. “We were determined as a team to come out of the negotiations, not just with the best deal possible, but a contract that works for all of our different members working in theaters all across the country. I wholeheartedly encourage our Members to support this historic contract so we can continue to do our work for audiences around the country.”

The LORT agreement marks the third major contract negotiated by Equity in recent years. In 2016, Equity reached a five-year agreement with the Off-Broadway League that reunited smaller Off-Broadway theaters, previously known as ANTC, with the commercial and not-for-profit theaters represented by the Off-Broadway League. In 2015, Equity reached a four-year agreement with the Broadway League, an agreement that included wage increases in each year of the contract.

Equity thanks Federal Mediators Javier Ramirez and David Thaler for their assistance in helping the parties to bridge their differences in reaching this agreement.

Further information from Actors’ Equity: actorsequity.org and League of Resident Theaters (LORT): lort.org