Highlights of Three Newest Freelance Agreements

Volume CII, No. 6June, 2002


While finances were a sticking point for this orchestra from the beginning, management ultimately accepted the economic provisions of the Pops agreement, along with its librarian language, and eliminated any attendance requirement for the first year. (However, if counting attendance for the first year of the agreement works to a musician’s advantage, he or she may opt to have it counted.) But negotiations on several non-economic provisions of crucial importance to the orchestra continued until the eleventh hour.

Schedule change and cancellation language was a concern, given that management has cancelled several services and engagements during the past season. The new provision requires at least 30 days’ notice (increased from 14) for schedule changes. Any musician unable to attend a rescheduled service because of a prior commitment shall be released with pay. And 14 days’ notice of a cancellation will now be required, up from seven days in the previous contract.

“This is a major achievement,” Assistant Director David Lennon told Allegro. “We would like to see that in all the freelance agreements next time.”

While most freelance agreements already provided for excused rehearsals, based on the music director’s approval, the Long Island Philharmonic only allowed musicians to be excused for an audition. They are now eligible for two additional rehearsal releases. Although these will require the music director’s approval, it may not unreasonably be withheld.

Mileage payments will increase after the first year. In year two, it will rise to $11 from the current level of $10 for the first 25 miles from Columbus Circle. In year three, it will increase to $8 from the current level of $7 for each additional 25 miles or less. Bus transportation language was added, including the designation of a bus captain, elected by the musicians, who shall be authorized to monitor and enforce safety conditions.

The audition procedure was modified. The music director must now obtain the unanimous agreement of the audition committee if a vacancy is to be filled by appointment, as opposed to an audition.

The rate for in-school educational services increases to $80 an hour, with a minimum two-hour call. However, management no longer is required to link these services to an MPTF performance. The new language parallels educational service provisions in several other freelance agreements.

If two or more concerts are recorded for local radio broadcast, the second will require no additional compensation. However, the first broadcast and all broadcasts subsequent to the second must be paid at regular NPR rates.

Finally, the contract includes a provision requiring management to reduce to writing a recovery plan for the orchestra, so that members can have a clearer picture of how they plan to emerge from the current fiscal crisis.

“The committee deserves great credit for winning two major provisions, schedule changes and mileage, that go beyond all the other freelance agreements,” Lennon said. “They understood the importance these issues have for musicians, and they were determined to achieve them.” The committee included Lucille Goeres (chair), Michael Bloom, Bob Lawrence, Valerie Levy and Karen Purpura.


The new ASO agreement incorporates the Pops economic and librarian language, and its provisions for tours and runouts, working conditions and recording. Like the other freelance agreements, it runs for three years and contains no attendance requirement for the first year.

Personal leave, one of the last issues settled, was of major importance since musicians had found that the existing language, which required permission for a rehearsal release, made it virtually impossible to utilize the provision. The new agreement increases rehearsal releases from one to two per season, beginning in the second year. The first such release for section players, subject to certain guidelines, will not require approval. The second request by section players and any request by principals requires permission from the music director, which shall not be unreasonably denied. The parties agreed to meet periodically to evaluate this provision and attempt to resolve any problems that may arise.

The agreement removes the music director’s right to designate co-principal players, although he retains the right to designate principal players. The union and committee placed great importance on this change because of concern that misuse of the right to designate co-principals could be used to effectively demote musicians, and might ultimately affect all principal players. For clarification, demotion was added to the contract’s dismissal and non-reengagement procedures.

By far the most important achievement was the incorporation of the Bard Music Festival into the agreement. Although both ensembles are under the auspices of the same employer, the Bard Music Festival was not under union contract. It involved the participation of 802 members, some of whom had performed consistently over the past several years.

Resolving this situation had become a priority for management, which is seeking to use the ASO name at the Bard Festival. Since it would be impossible to honor both the ASO tenured list and the Bard players as first call, negotiations centered on finding a compromise that considered the interests of musicians in both ensembles. Both parties were committed to a gradual transition which would offer employment opportunities to as many musicians as possible.

Although 802’s primary obligation was to represent the orchestra whose collective bargaining agreement was being renegotiated, the union and committee went to great lengths to consider the situation of musicians who, over the years, had grown accustomed to being chosen to do the festival by the music director.

Transitional formula: A primary and a secondary hiring list will be maintained at the Bard Festival for the next three years, comprised of 37 non-ASO musicians who, having consistently played the festival, were recognized as the core Bard orchestra. The primary list contains 19 musicians and the secondary list, 18. The employer must hire the musicians on the primary hiring list first, before any ASO players, and pay a displacement cost to ASO players of the respective sections. The employer has the option, but is not obligated, to similarly hire musicians from the secondary list. If they exercise that option, they must again pay the appropriate displacement cost. Ultimately, as this clause sunsets, all 37 musicians will become the secondary hiring list at Bard. Players on the secondary hiring list must be called first for all work, should subs or extras be needed.

Longer-term opportunities: Beyond the three-year term of this contract, the Bard musicians have a guaranteed place on the secondary hiring list. And by being covered by the ASO contract, they will earn benefits on all work, which was not the case in the past. The agreement also creates immediate opportunities for the Bard musicians in the ASO. The ASO sub list in New York has been expanded to include all players on both the primary and secondary hiring lists at Bard, and that list will be frozen for the life of this agreement. Any section seat that becomes available on the ASO primary hiring list must be offered first to musicians on the sub list.

Principal players: ASO principal players will be offered a section seat at Bard and compensated as principal players. Musicians who decline this offer will be compensated $500 plus pension and health benefits. ASO principals will be designated in the programs as such and Bard principals will be designated as principals, Bard Music Festival.

Attendance: ASO tenured players who play the Bard festival will receive credit for attending, but if they decline they will not be treated as being absent. Bard primary personnel must work all three summers to remain on the primary hiring list. Should they miss one, they will be moved to the secondary list.

At press time, the union had scheduled a meeting with the Bard musicians, to explain how their inclusion in the new ASO agreement will work.

The ASO committee included chair Eugene Moye (chair), Patricia Davis, Jeffrey Lang, David Smith and Ann Yarbrough.


The Riverside Symphony has also signed on to the economic terms of the Pops deal. In addition, the parties agreed that the employer shall continue its liberal past practice of granting rehearsal releases, since the committee felt this has not been a problem. A Librarian provision will be added, requiring compensation at the appropriate Local 802 rates in the event that such services are not performed by a member of the management.

The provisions established in the Pops agreement for tours and run-outs and recording are incorporated into this contract, as is language on composers’ recordings from the ACO agreement. As in all the other agreements, there will be no attendance requirement in the first year.

The employer also agreed that current vacancies on the hiring list will be filled as soon as possible, but no later than within two years from when a position becomes vacant. Finally, an important new provision recognizes a shop steward, elected by the musicians, as having the authority to enforce all contractual provisions at the workplace.

The CBA was to go to musicians for ratification during rehearsals for the June 6 concert. The negotiating committee was made up of Scott Temple (chair), Sarah Adams, Laurie Goldstein-Stubbs, Gail Kruvand-Moye and Keith Underwood.

The negotiating committees were assisted by 802 counsel Lenny Leibowitz, Financial Vice-President Tina Hafemeister, Assistant Director David Lennon and Concert Rep Joe Delia.