Union Wins Deal With LORT Theatres

Negotiations Roundup

Volume CVII, No. 1January, 2007

Mary Donovan

Local 802 has negotiated new agreements covering the American Airlines Theatre, Studio 54 and the Biltmore.

The owners of these theatres are members of the League of Resident Theatres, or LORT. There are more than 80 LORT theatres located in cities throughout the U.S. These companies are nonprofit organizations mostly producing original work. Many operate two stages: a main stage for shows requiring larger sets or cast, and a second stage for more avant-garde productions. Besides regular ticket sales, regional theatres rely on donations, grants and subscriptions.

The Roundabout Theatre Company owns the 720-seat American Airlines Theatre and the 900-seat Studio 54. The Manhattan Theatre Club owns the 600-seat Biltmore. A former Broadway house, the Biltmore was closed for a number of years. Once it was renovated, it was re-classified as a regional theatre.

Both companies also operate nonprofit Off Broadway theatres.

The union achieved 15 percent wage increases at the two Roundabout theatres over a five-year agreement. Local 802 fought particularly hard in both contracts for gains in pension contributions, a playing contractor premium and language banning the virtual orchestra. Both contracts include hospitalization as well as regular health benefits. In addition to the regular season terms, both contracts provide that any production that goes beyond its subscription period will pay full Broadway wages. At the Roundabout theatres, pension increases from 9 percent during the regular season to 11 percent over the life of the agreement, and to 14.5 percent if the production is extended.

Particularly hard fought at the Biltmore was the language covering music prep personnel. The employers argued that their plans include an original musical and that music preparation work would be very costly. The final language includes an increase from 85 percent of the Broadway rates to 95 percent over the life of the four-year agreement.

The previous Roundabout agreement already contained full Broadway music preparation rates with general price list benefits.

The complete terms of the contracts are available on our Web site under “Wage & Contract Info.”