Contract Negotiations Updates

Volume CIX, No. 3March, 2009


A new two-year agreement has been ratified for Inside Broadway, a nonprofit entity that presents theatre to school-age children. In the new agreement, the wages are frozen for the first year and increase by 3 percent effective July 1, 2009. Pension shall immediately increase by one percent to 8.5 percent.

A controversy had arisen during the term of the last contract which has been amicably resolved in these negotiations. One of Inside Broadway’s initiatives is “Creating the Magic,” a yearly event in which school children are given a demonstration in an actual Broadway theatre. It was discovered in 2008 that the employer had planned to use open recording tracks to accompany Equity members at that year’s event. Although the director responded to Local 802’s objections by adding a musician to the event who talked about the importance of live music to Broadway theatre, many members remain concerned. In these negotiations, Inside Broadway agreed to the following language to address those issues:

“Its historic commitment to live music having been demonstrated by the use of musicians in all school performances, the employer recognizes the importance of live music in the performance experience at League venues. As soon as possible in any year, the employer and the union shall confer and come to agreement regarding the utilization of musicians in ‘Creating the Magic’ events. The wage rate for ‘Creating the Magic’ shall be $35 per hour with a minimum of $100 per musician for each engagement. Pension and health benefits shall be paid in accordance with Articles 5 and 6, but there shall be no premiums on wages. The employer agrees that it shall not make use of open recorded tracks to replace live musicians.”


The Gotham Wind Symphony and Local 802 have signed a recognition agreement. The ensemble has agreed to confer with Local 802 about wages, hours and other conditions of employment for all future engagements.

The Gotham Winds is at present the only large wind ensemble performing in New York City. Consisting of around 45 musicians, the group was initially created to perform a concert in Duffy Square to publicize live music and as a show of appreciation to the people of New York City following the Broadway strike of 2003.

Trombonist Mike Christianson, a Local 802 member, is the founder and conductor of the group. He has led the band through a number of recordings and concerts and has commissioned several new works by New York City composers. 

“This recognition agreement shows that 802 can indeed tell when something is being done for love — which is hopefully why we all got into this in the first place — and is willing to help that occur,” Christianson told Allegro. “It makes a great-feeling band feel even greater!”


The musicians of the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players recently ratified a new two-year agreement. Beginning Sept. 1, 2009, wages and benefits will increase for all engagements. New York performance runs will rise 4.2 percent, and runouts, which make up the majority of NYGASP engagements, will rise 5.8 percent.

Under the new contract, musicians will have 30 days to file a grievance, rather than 15 days. In addition, NYGASP has agreed to identify the principal second violin on the roster.

The musicians on the NYGASP orchestra committee are: Steve Shulman (chair), Deb Spohnheimer, Daniele Doctorow, Robert Lawrence and Nancy Ranger. The negotiation was led by Local 802 legal counsel Harvey Mars and Senior Concert Rep Karen Fisher.


The AFM and the recording industry agreed on a one-year extension of the Sound Recording Labor Agreement. All wage scales increase by 2 percent, with the exception of “low-low budget,” which remains at $153 for a three-hour session. Pension holds at 11 percent. Health benefits go up $0.50 per session. So, for example, on the first service of the day for a full budget recording, health will pay $22.50; all additional services will pay $17. For low budget recordings, all health payments will pay $16.


A production of “The Sinatra Project” was negotiated with Troika entertainment as a pre-Broadway workshop. The scale is $1,568.80 for a 40-hour, six-day week and $29.40 per 30 minutes of overtime. The music director earns a 50 percent premium; the associate conductor earns a premium of 30 percent. The premium for the first double is 12.5 percent and additional doubles pay 6.25 percent. Musicians are reimbursed for transporting cartage instruments. Pension pays 8 percent, and health pays $170 per musician per week.