Empyreal Strings has signed a recognition agreement with Local 802, a victory that is part of a larger campaign to organize club date strings employers. Arlene LaPadura, director and representative for Empyreal Strings, signed the agreement for the owner of the agency, Roman Teplinsky. They agreed to commence bargaining for a first contract by Jan. 17 or begin to pay full scale and benefits for all jobs after that date.
Musicians notified Local 802 that Teplinsky underbid several club date signatories for a Dec. 5 engagement at the Neue Galerie Museum in Manhattan. 802 Organizing Director Joe Eisman called Teplinsky and LaPadura to discuss the matter.
The union was prepared to contact the Neue Galerie and advise museum administrators that Empyreal Strings was undercutting area standards, warning that 802 would leaflet the engagement and inflate the union’s balloon rat outside the museum.
After several lengthy discussions with LaPadura, Eisman received assurances that Empyreal Strings would not undercut 802 standards. The agency agreed to pay the equivalent of union scale and benefits for the Dec. 5 engagement. LaPadura also voluntarily agreed to pay full scale wages and benefits for all jobs after Jan. 17 if negotiations do not begin before then.
Contract Administration Supervisor Jim Hannen and Senior Organizer Summer Smith have been involved with an ongoing campaign to maintain club date standards for string players and have been closely examining several nonunion employers. The signing of this recognition agreement by Empyreal Strings was a direct result of information provided by members and 802’s determination to protect area standards. All members are urged to continue calling the Organizing Department with information. All calls are strictly confidential.