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New Labor Contract For Touring Theatricals

(CelebrityAccess News Service) — The League of American Theatres and Producers, Inc. (the commercial trade organization for Broadway and touring Broadway in the United States and Canada) and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (the Union representing theatrical stagecraft across the United States and Canada) reached an agreement on December 22 (nine days prior to contract expiration) for a new three-year agreement on their "pink contracts," which cover stagehands, wardrobe personnel, make-up artists, hair dressers, and motion picture operators on touring Broadway shows as well as in New York.

The agreement calls for increases in minimum scale rates, health contributions, holiday pay and expanded annuity benefits for IATSE members. Also included for the first time is an alternative touring arrangement that allows touring shows that meet certain criteria to tour on a contract that includes reduced minimum salaries, expense reimbursement (per diem) and other modified terms. The alternative arrangement will be in place for 18 months — through June 30, 2005 — at which point the parties can elect to examine the arrangement to ensure that it is doing what the parties believe it will do — expand the opportunities for touring Broadway and encourage more touring product under union agreements, with more employment for IATSE members with better working conditions.

According to Jed Bernstein, president of the League of American Theatres and Producers, Inc., "I would like to commend the negotiating committees for both the League and IATSE on their hard work and success in achieving a contract that is mutually beneficial and that will enable all parties to continue to bring the best of live theatre to touring venues, as well as in New York. I believe this contract will serve the industry well."

IATSE Vice President and Chairman of the Union's bargaining committee Mike Sullivan said, "I am confident that the new agreement will mean more work for our current members and enable us to offer the benefits of IATSE membership to an expanding group of touring employees. Also of great significance was our ability to preserve all our members' health care benefits. Few unions have been able to achieve such a goal in these time of rising health care costs."

The agreement was effective January 5, 2004. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen