Last year Allegro ran an article outlining problems in the club date field involving classically-trained musicians who earn much of their living performing ceremonies and preheats for club date employers.
In many cases, these engagements are contracted by union members who work primarily outside the club date field and provide musicians for one- or two-hour engagements, ignoring minimum-call standards and paying considerably less than scale. For example, minimum call for Saturday night is four hours (currently $250) – but these subcontractors pay musicians between $100 and $150 for one or two hours’ work. Generally speaking, the string players are employed only for the ceremony and preheat, not for the main portion of the engagement.
These services are also provided by nonunion subcontractors, who provide the services for both union and nonunion club date employers. The Contract Administration and Organizing departments have identified the major nonunion subcontractors and are working to develop a strategy for possible organizing campaigns. The success of such campaigns would require the continued support and input of musicians working in the field.
Thanks mostly to anonymous tips, Local 802 has succeeded in getting contracts filed for several engagements which were led by union members. Part of the union’s strategy for organizing union members who provide these services involves educating those who usually work in other areas of the music industry. Union members need to be aware of Local 802 agreements and scales in other areas of work, so that established scales and benefits are not undercut and benefits are paid. Departments which represent members in all areas of the music industry will cooperate to this end, and an effective campaign to educate union members will be developed.