Actors’ Equity Association and Producers' Association of Chicago Area Theatres Ratify New Agreement

Chicago -- Actors’ Equity Association, the national labor union representing more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers in live theatre, and Producers' Association of Chicago Area Theatres (PACT), an association of 21 professional Chicago area theatres operating under the Chicago Area Theatre (CAT) contract, have ratified a new four-year agreement. 

The new agreement implements systemic changes to allow people to make a sustained living as Chicago theatre artists, and provides producers with the runway needed to implement those changes in a sustainable way. Wage increases over the term of the contract will enable actors and stage managers to build a life in the theatre. Larger theatres have agreed to new benefits that support sustainable careers for the artists who work there. Over the term of this contract, stage managers will see across-the-board improvements in the work-life balance. And the new agreement advances discrimination and harassment protections and protections for reproductive and gender-affirming healthcare.

“Equity’s negotiating team is so proud of what we have accomplished on this agreement. We knew our employers shared our goal of making the pursuit of a career in Chicago theatre a viable choice, and we stuck to our vision of how to make that possible,” said Wydetta Carter, 1st vice president of Actors’ Equity Association and chair of the Chicago Area Theatre Negotiating Team. “Our members working in CAT theatres are entering fairer and safer workplaces, and that’s what it’s all about.” 

“PACT’s membership is grateful for the spirit of collaboration, compromise and transparency in which this new agreement was negotiated. As we continue to navigate the challenging times that we still face as an industry post pandemic, we appreciate our partners at Equity working with us side by side to provide time and space so needed for recovery but also to work collectively and strategically on a healthy path forward for everyone,” said Kate Lipuma, President of PACT and Executive Director of Writers Theatre.

The Chicago Area Theatre (CAT) Agreement is one of Equity’s largest regional contracts; in the 2022-2023 season, Equity members cumulatively earned nearly $3.5 million on the CAT Agreement. This agreement follows negotiations that began the end of September 2023. The tentative agreement was recommended for approval by Equity’s negotiating committee and then ratified by Equity’s Central Regional Board. This is the first major update to the CAT Agreement since 2018.

ACTORS’ EQUITY ASSOCIATION, founded in 1913, is the U.S. labor union that represents more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers. Equity endeavors to advance the careers of its members by negotiating wages, improving working conditions and providing a wide range of benefits (health and pension included). Member: AFL-CIO, FIA. #EquityWorks

PRODUCERS' ASSOCIATION OF CHICAGO AREA THEATRES (PACT) is an association representing 21 professional Chicago area theatres in their collective bargaining discussions with Equity, operating under the Chicago Area Theatre (CAT) contract. The CAT agreement is a tiered contract used in theatres with a capacity of 900 seats or fewer within 35 miles from the Chicago city limits and covers both commercial and nonprofit theatres.

March 5, 2024