It’s already shaping up to be a very busy season at Local 802. First, I’m happy to report that we have negotiated a successor agreement with Radio City Music Hall. It’s a three-year deal with increases in wages of 2 percent in the first year and 3 percent in years two and three. Our biggest gain in the agreement was an increase in health benefits for non-pool musicians, which will ensure that eligibility for health care can be maintained. The complete agreement will be posted on the Local 802 member portal under Member Docs.
Secondly, our electronic media supervisor Steve Danenberg reported to me that four films had recently recorded in New York, utilizing union contracts. This means that musicians were paid union wages and benefits and will be protected if the film music is used elsewhere. The movies included “The Girl on the Train” (music composed by Danny Elfman); “A Dog’s Purpose” (scored by Rachel Portman” – with a 70-person orchestra!); “Keeping Up with the Joneses” (music by Jake Monaco – including a session with 67 musicians); and “The Seagull” (music composed by Nico Muhly). I want to thank the producers and composers and contractors for recording in New York – home of the best musicians in the world – and recording under union contracts, ensuring that the talented musicians receive the pay and benefits they deserve. We’re spreading the word that recording in New York has tax advantages, and – more importantly – it means getting access to the world’s best musicians.
Next, as many of you know by now, we are rebooting and renaming our Music Referral Service. For our newest members, let me just quickly remind you what this is. Whenever someone calls Local 802 and says, “I want to hire a band for a wedding” or “I need some background music for a corporate party,” we have a system in place to refer these jobs to our members. But our referral service hasn’t been updated in a long time. We’re starting with a contest to rename the service itself, and we’re also completely re-designing our referral web site. As this issue goes to press, the contest winner has not yet been selected but we’ll keep you posted. The idea is that our new referral service should help streamline the process in getting our members more jobs. Stay tuned! (Also, here’s an inside scoop: we will also soon be updating the Local 802 web site. Lots of exciting changes to look forward to!)
FORT WORTH SYMPHONY
I’m sorry to report that the management of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra in Texas has forced musicians to go on strike. Musicians, who are represented by AFM Local 72-147, had bargained in good faith for 15 months – including four federal mediation sessions. But in the end, management’s insulting offer was another pay cut, for the second time in six years. This was too much to take for these hard-working musicians, who had already accepted a 13.5 percent cut in 2010. “We want our audiences and the citizens of Fort Worth to know how much we regret that we are forced to take this extreme step,” said bassist Julie Vinsant, who is a member of the musicians’ negotiating committee,. “We call on our management to come back to the table so that we can continue providing great music for our great city. We are very thankful for your continuing steadfast support.” To see how you can help, check out www.fwsomusicians.com.
APPOINTED AS TRUSTEE
I am honored to let Local 802 members know that I have been appointed one of the six trustees of the AFM & SAG-AFTRA Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund. This is the fund that collects royalties for musicians when their music is heard on webcasting stations like Pandora, digital subscription services like SiriusXM, and other sources. You can learn more about the fund – and check to see if it has money waiting for you – at www.AfmSagAftraFund.org. I will represent Local 802 musicians to the best of my ability on this board. It’s important that Local 802 gets a voice here, just as we have a voice on the pension fund where I am a trustee as well.
FEDERAL MEDIATION PANEL
I recently participated in a Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service panel at the National Labor-Management Conference. The panel I sat on was a discussion and overview of collective bargaining. It centered around the different forms or strategies of bargaining, which includes traditional bargaining (where the two bargaining parties sit across the table from each other and exchange proposals), interest-based bargaining (where the two parties try to resolve bargaining disputes collaboratively to the benefit of both sides), and a combination of the two, called modified traditional bargaining. Interest-based bargaining requires a large degree of trust that both sides are being forthcoming with information. This is integral to a successful outcome.
Also discussed were the different laws that govern private sector and public sector unions. Private sector unions have the protections and benefits of the National Labor Relations Act. This is the category our union falls into. Public sector unions, which represent government employees on the federal, state and local levels, do not enjoy the protections and benefits of the NLRA but rather are governed by individual state laws or acts. Notably, the biggest difference is that private sector unions have the right to call a job action and strike in order to put pressure on the employer. Public sector unions are not protected in the same way when it comes to strikes.
It was a successful and informative conference with many valuable workshops and speakers, including AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.
PLAYER CONFERENCE REPORTS
In my previous column, I reported on my attendance at the Regional Orchestra Players Association conference in Madison. I also attended the conference of the Theatre Musicians Association as well as the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians, both held in Washington, D.C. It gives me pleasure to see so many musicians working together and sharing ideas and experiences. The common thread this year was collective bargaining and the various services that are offered by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services. There were reports from our AFM officers as well as reports from staff of the Symphonic Services Division and the Touring, Theatre, Booking and Immigration Division.
I continue to assist the AFM with the Live TV contract negotiations as well as the successor to the Sound Recording Labor Agreement. These contract negotiations tend to be long, drawn-out processes that reflect the complexity of the agreements and the industry as a whole. I will also be assisting the AFM in the negotiation of the Pamphlet B Theatrical Touring Agreement. At the time of this report, we are about to sit at the table with the Broadway League. As bargaining progresses, I will report back to you.
CITIZENS’ ADVISORY COMMITTEE
As you may remember, a year ago I had the honor of being appointed by Mayor de Blasio to the NYC Cultural Plan Citizens’ Advisory Committee, a group of stakeholders in the arts community that seeks to help the city develop a cultural arts plan to better support and grow the role the arts play in New York City’s five boroughs. These meetings have been taking place throughout the summer and the city just announced the selection of the Hester Street Collaborative organization to create this comprehensive plan. As the only representatives of labor on the committee, we’ve been working hard to ensure that the needs and interests of artists, musicians, writers and producers are advocated for and remain an important part in the city’s plan to make New York a more inclusive, accessible and culturally vibrant community. After all, if New York City is to remain a cultural capital of the world, it must be a place that truly supports the artists who create our cultural heritage. We must constantly look for ways to fully integrate the power of the arts into the lives of all New Yorkers.
We’re in the final two months of the U.S. presidential campaign. Please put Tuesday, Nov. 8 in your calendar – that’s Election Day! Remember that you must be registered to vote by Oct. 14. New Yorkers can register easily at http://vote.nyc.ny.us. For any voting registration questions or concerns, contact our political and communications director Chris Carroll at (212) 245-4802, ext. 176.
In the New York primaries, our endorsed candidate Linda Rosenthal won with 96 percent of the vote. Linda is the incumbent in New York’s 67th Assembly District, which includes parts of the Upper West Side and Hell’s Kitchen/Clinton. Congratulations, Linda! We heard from Linda that her constituents were very aware of Local 802’s endorsement, which means our message is getting out there. Our other endorsed candidate, Micah Lasher, did not win his primary for District 31 of the New York State Senate. For the most up-to-date endorsements and political news, see our Political Action page or contact Chris Carroll as per above.
CONGRATS TO OUR MEMBERS
The National Endowment for the Arts has announced the 2017 NEA Jazz Masters awards, which are the nation’s highest honor in jazz. The awardees include two members of Local 802: Dave Holland and Dick Hyman. Both were recognized for their exceptional contributions to the advancement of jazz, and each will receive a $25,000 award. Congratulations to Dave and Dick for this high honor.
Separately, Local 802 member Wayne Shorter will be inducted into the Academy of Arts and Sciences on Oct. 8. Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is one of the country’s oldest societies, composed of leaders from the academic, arts, business and government sectors. Congratulations, Wayne!
Next, Local 802 member Jimmy Owens was recently honored with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Jazz Legacy Award, which was given to him, saxophonist Joe Ford, and the Jazzmobile organization. The ceremony was presided over by Rep. John Conyers, Jr., ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee and dean of the Congressional Black Caucus, at its annual legislative conference, jazz forum and concert in Washington, D.C. Congratulations, Jimmy!
Finally, congratulations to this year’s winners of the Anne Walker Scholarship. The scholarship, now in its 18th year, honors a fiery advocate for musicians whose more than 30 years of work at 802 were cut short by a tragic automobile accident in 1996. At the time, Anne Walker was administrative assistant to the president, supervisor of the Music Prep Department and administrator of the Local 802 Sick Pay Fund. To apply for a scholarship, a student must be a Local 802 member in good standing or the child of a member in good standing. The prizes this year ranged from $750 to $1,500. The winners are William Christopher Clark, Marissa Faltings, Caroline Kuhn, Hannah Levine, Matthew O’Donnell, Wesley Ostrander, Michele Ripka and Carleigh Ross. The next application period will be in March 2017; we print the application form in Allegro and we also post it on our Facebook page and electronic newsletter.
Long live Broadway musicians! The Broadway League and the Coalition of Broadway Unions and Guilds recently honored Local 802 musicians and other Broadway artists who have served long tenures on Broadway. John Moses was honored for serving 50 or more years! Congratulations, John. The list of musicians who served 35 years included Lorraine S. Cohen, Charles T. Descarfino, Lawrence A. Di Bello Jr., Bruce Doctor, Lino Gomez, Emily Grishman, A. Karl Jurman, Michael D. Migliore, Glenn P. Rhian, Jack Schatz and Norman Weiss. Finally, David Gursky was honored for serving 25 years on Broadway. Congratulations to all of these musicians –and to all musicians who bring the magic of live music to theatre! For more information, see www.BroadwaySalutes.com.
In other musical theatre news, we recently achieved contracts covering musicians for the following shows: an Off Broadway production of “On the Rails”; an Off Broadway production of “A Dog Story: The Musical” at the Davenport Black Box Theatre; the production of “Takarazuka Chicago” at the Koch Theatre; and a performance of the Jambalaya Brass Band as part of “Twelfth Night” at the Delacorte Theatre. If you’re called to play for musical theatre of any kind – from a reading all the way through a full production – call our Theatre Department at (212) 245-4802. We’ll make sure you’re earning the pay and benefits you deserve.
If you or any of your musician friends haven’t joined Local 802 yet, now is the time. We are waiving our initiation fee for new members who join between now and Dec. 31. To take advantage of this offer, call our Membership Department at (212) 245-4802. Please spread the word.