Grievance Corner

Volume CIII, No. 6June, 2003


Local 802 recently won a three-year-old grievance against Paul Morer Productions that went all the way to district court for enforcement. The grievance concerned employment on a cast album, and the total amount was for $5,000, which covered wages and benefits.

The issue went back to 2000, when musicians were hired by Paul Morer through his company for a production of “Godspell” at St. Peter’s Church. The production was done under an 802 agreement, which specified that the musicians had identity with the product. That is, if a cast album ever came out, they should have been offered the work of recording the album.

However, when a cast album was finally recorded, the employer hired different musicians. Only the music director was retained. Local 802 filed a grievance and the matter went to arbitration.

The employer failed to appear and the arbitrator awarded the full amount of wages, pension and health benefits to the musicians as if they had been engaged for the cast album. The employer did not respond to the arbitrator’s decision and 802 attorney Harvey Mars filed for enforcement with U.S. District Court.

Last August, the court ordered the employer to pay. The employer made a payment agreement with the union, then reneged. After the union started collection efforts, the employer finally paid up on Feb. 9, for a total of $5,000, which was the amount due under the 2000-01 scales for a cast album recording.

The money has already been distributed to the musicians.