For the first time in many years, Local 802 has brought a recording of a work by composer Philip Glass under contract. The agreement covers 30 musicians taking part in seven recording sessions for a short industrial film that is to be shown in museums in Europe.
The agreement was signed by Euphorbia Publishing, which publishes the work of this prolific composer. His works are often recorded section by section, rather than utilizing a full orchestra during each session.
The union learned about the job from musicians who had heard of it from friends who were called for sessions over the President’s Day weekend. On Feb. 17, Recording Department reps David Sheldon and Russ Agdern met with the 12-member violin and viola section while Pedro Rodriguez and I spoke with Euphorbia President Kurt Munkacsi. As our discussion progressed, it seemed clear that there had been misinformation in the past as to how things would have to be done under a union agreement – and that we were not as far apart as it might have seemed.
We reached an agreement that if the musicians wanted the session to be done union, it would be. The musicians were pleased to move forward under a union agreement, and to learn that they would be receiving pension and health benefits for the sessions.
Our discussions with Mr. Munkacsi have helped to clear the air and opened the possibility that future dates for Philip Glass may be done under contract. Given his extensive discography and busy recording schedule, this would be very important for musicians.
Freelance musicians have bills to pay, and they may end up doing some nonunion work – but that doesn’t mean they prefer it that way. Our members would like to find a way to bring their work under contract. The steady increase in information about nonunion phono and film dates that we are receiving from musicians as a result of Local 802’s campaign to end dark dates is helping us to achieve that.