Chelsea Symphony musicians win contract for Avery Fisher Hall job

Volume 112, No. 7/8July, 2012

Karen Fisher

Thanks to some vigilant and proactive musicians, Local 802 received a number of anonymous calls in early May regarding an engagement that was to take place later that month in Avery Fisher Hall. The Chelsea Symphony had been hired to perform by an individual who wanted to hold a concert in honor of his father, a composer.

Local 802 has been aware of the Chelsea Symphony for some time. It is the same orchestra that accompanied the Three Irish Tenors at the Beacon Theater in 2010. Thanks to the outstanding help of the musicians, we were able to get that engagement under contract.

Now the Chelsea Symhony has again won a union contract for a performance. With the cooperation of the musicians and the employer, Local 802 was able to achieve an agreement that guaranteed wages, health contributions and pension payments for musicians. All because of some anonymous calls that tipped us off.

Non-union contractors and employers: you are on notice. Our members are watching.

Right now in NYC, there are many ensembles bidding for the same work. When orchestras underbid our rates, they undermine all we have accomplished over the years.

While we would like every gig to pay full scale and benefits, we know that is not always feasible in smaller venues.

However, when an orchestra is hired by a third party – as was the case here – or when an orchestra plans to perform in a major venue, we cannot allow our hard-won scales to be undercut.

Whenever you get asked to play a job – especially if the job is in a major venue like Avery Fisher Hall – please make a confidential call to Local 802. We can tell you if the job has been filed with the union. If it hasn’t, we can give you some options, all while protecting your identity. Call (212) 245-4802.