Dozens of club date musicians attended a dinner held in Local 802’s Club Room on Oct. 19, to kick off the campaign for a new Single Engagement Club Date Agreement. The event, which honored the contributions of long-time Club Date Committee members, was also intended to obtain input from members and determine some preliminary proposals for the new contract (the current agreement expires on April 14, 2001). Others recognized were staff members responsible for administering and enforcing the club date agreement and new Business Rep Raymond Ortiz, who will be working in both the club date and hotel fields.
The group was nearly unanimous in calling for significant wage scale and pension contribution increases, and other issues that affect all club date musicians. “When you consider the increases in gasoline prices, parking rates and tolls,” one member noted, “I’m lucky if I net $75 after taxes and expenses from a three-hour weekday job.” (Scale is currently $145.)
Several people pointed out that most club date work now takes place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and that perhaps the higher Sunday scale that was negotiated in the current contract should be expanded. The Contract Administration Department confirmed that, over the last two years, almost 40 percent of all club dates have taken place on Saturday nights, and that Fridays and Sundays are almost even at 16 and 18 percent, respectively.
Most agreed that the increased costs of driving into Manhattan and parking seriously cut into their wages. The current agreement reimburses cartage musicians only up to $28 for engagements that begin before 7:30 p.m. (8 p.m. for keyboard players and drummers). Musicians who perform out-of-town engagements expressed similar concerns that negotiated reimbursements have lagged behind actual costs, especially in the areas of auto mileage, meals, airport parking and transportation to and from airports.
The dinner/meeting was concluded with the committee asking all members to stay actively involved throughout the negotiating process. Members who were unable to make the dinner are urged to contact Richard Schilio or Raymond Ortiz (in the Manhattan office) or Bob Gulluscio or Peter Voccola (in the Long Island office, at (516) 935-6250) with their e-mail addresses. The Contract Administration Department has created an e-mail database to enable us to stay connected with club date musicians during the negotiating process.