Local 802 forges ahead

Financial Vice President's report

Volume 122, No. 2February, 2022

Karen Fisher

As we approach the second month of our new administration, there is a mixed bag of news to report. While the pandemic is not over, we are forging ahead with contract negotiations and the regular work of the union. In December and January, some freelance classical ensembles experienced cancellations due to high rates of positive Covid tests; however, most of those concerts are in line to be rescheduled in the spring or summer. The Concert Department is in the process of negotiating and updating several contracts. We recently reached a two-year agreement with the Oratorio Society of Queens that includes increases in wages and health benefit payments. We have a tentative agreement with the NYC Gay Men’s Chorus, which is finally emerging from the shutdown with a new, interim administration and a concert scheduled for early May. The omicron variant forced NYGASP to cancel a scheduled run of performances; however, musicians in the orchestra will receive a wage payment, health and pension for a streamed performance of “HMS Pinafore’’ thanks to their recent signing of the current AFM Integrated Media Agreement. There are engagements in the works for the Victor Herbert Renaissance Project and Teatro Grattacielo. Negotiations with Westchester Philharmonic and the American Symphony Orchestra are ongoing. And I’m happy to report that Orpheus, St. Luke’s and the Stamford Symphony continue to perform both in person and online.


Since January 1, my office has resumed oversight of Local 802’s Information Technology (I.T.) department, formerly under the president’s office. As many of you are aware, we’ve been in the process of changing our computer system for several months. We had chosen a new database company that promised us not only cost savings but also more flexibility and efficiency.

Preparations for the change took place for nearly two years and the new system was implemented last August. What was supposed to take two weeks has stretched into months — far longer than anyone expected — and has been fraught with glitches and problems. We are disappointed and frustrated by this turn of events, as it has caused a host of difficulties with our internal operations which in turn has had an adverse effect on you, our members. The new administration has spent a great deal of time over the past month untangling the issues and working on understanding why the new system continues to be plagued with problems. We’re aware of the frustration you are experiencing, and it is unacceptable. The solution will not be fast or simple. However, we will make this right.

I do want to reassure the membership that we have backup systems in place to work around the problems. Contracts are being processed and our data is safe. I will continue to update you as we move through this latest challenge for our local.