Freelance Negotiations in Full Swing

Volume CIV, No. 12December, 2004

Jay Blumenthal

Negotiations for the freelance orchestras are well underway. The preparation process began with the various orchestra committees formulating questions for a survey.

All tenured musicians on rosters for these orchestras had an opportunity to respond by answering the questions and making individual comments.

The union collected and compiled all the data and put together booklets so each orchestra committee could develop proposals based on the input from that orchestra’s tenured members.

Once the proposals had been formulated, negotiations began.

The first negotiation took place on June 23 with the management of the New York Pops.

The union distributed our proposals to management and answered any questions they had so everyone left with a complete understanding of the issues.

Little happened over the summer due to musicians on committees leaving town to play summer festivals around the country.

Negotiations resumed in early October when the Pops management responded to our proposals. We responded to them at that same meeting.

Our next negotiation was being scheduled as this issue of Allegro went to press.

We have also met with the Long Island Philharmonic and we are in the process of scheduling meetings for the other freelance orchestras.

In addition to economic proposals, we have proposed work guarantees, catastrophic medical insurance, increased flexibility through additional rehearsal releases, improvements for librarians, a ban on the use of a virtual orchestra machine and electronic filing language for electronic submission of payrolls to the union.

Members who have questions about the negotiations can contact my office at (212) 245-4802, ext. 105.

The freelance orchestras are the American Composers Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra, Bronx Arts Ensemble, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Little Orchestra Society, Long Island Philharmonic, New York Pops, Opera Orchestra of New York, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Queens Symphony and Riverside Symphony.