In Brief

Volume CIX, No. 2February, 2009


Diana Cohn has passed her six-month probation period and is joining the staff of Local 802 as a representative in the Recording Department. Diana graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in industrial and labor relations, concentrating in labor law and collective bargaining. Before joining Local 802, Diana interned at the Tompkins County Workers’ Center in Ithaca, New York. She played an integral role in their Justice for Hotel Workers campaign, which focused on gaining union recognition and a living wage for hotel employees in downtown Ithaca. She has also worked as a legal assistant clerk in the employment law group at Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe LLP. .


Musicians help musicians. Many Local 802 members run their own businesses and offer all kinds of services. These members purchase ads in Allegro — especially on page 22. Check out what they have to offer — and support fellow musicians during the recession! If you want to buy an ad yourself, you can reach thousands of professional musicians for as little as $34. Contact Allegro editor Mikael Elsila at or (212) 245-4802, ext. 179.


The Brooklyn Academy of Music has recently signed an agreement for a spring production of Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion.” Performances will take place from April 17 to April 25. The agreement mirrors previous agreements for this work when performed at BAM with current opera/ballet scales applied. Principals in both Orchestra I and Orchestra II will earn premium pay, except Principal Violin I of Orchestra I and Principal Violin I of Orchestra II, who will each earn a 50 percent premium. Full details of the agreement can be requested from the Concert Department.


A first-step grievance has been filed with the Queens Symphony Orchestra for its failure to pay musicians who performed for two Music Performance Fund engagements on Aug. 3 and 10, 2008. As of this writing, the Queens Symphony has responded saying they hope to be able to pay the musicians “within a few weeks.” Updated information will be posted on the site as the situation changes.


Arts activists went on the road on Jan. 13 to tell our political leaders in Albany to save the arts and not to cut the budget of the New York State Council on the Arts. Local 802 Jazz Consultant Bob Cranshaw was on the bus. So was bassist Colin Dean, who is also a Local 802 member. 

“Right now, the arts community has already been pushed to a tipping point,” Dean told Allegro. “I believe that further cuts to arts funding have the potential to cause irreparable damage for many years to come. I went to Albany to learn about the political process, to establish a human to human connection with the elected officials who have the final word in the legislative process, and to develop a deeper friendship with my brothers and sisters in the union.”

Bob Cranshaw had similar sentiments. “Anything I can do the help the arts and help my fellow musicians, I’m in line,” he said. “If I have to go to Albany every week, it would be O.K. It’s really a joy and an honor to speak on behalf on my family of musicians. I’m really proud and happy that the union asked me.”


At last, some hopeful news for workers. Congressman John Hall, who is also a Local 802 member, recently celebrated the House’s passage of two bills that would give workers more rights.

The Paycheck Fairness Act would close loopholes that have enabled employers to evade the 1963 law requiring equal pay for equal work. It would ban employers from penalizing employees who share salary information with co-workers. It also puts the burden of proof on employers to justify a decision to pay an unequal wage.

The Lilly Ledbetter Act would reverse a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that obliged a worker to file claims of wage discrimination within 180 days of the first decision to pay that worker less, even if the person was unaware of the pay disparity. The bill would make each paycheck showing wage discrimination a new violation.

As Allegro goes to press, both bills were headed to the Senate. We’ll keep you posted.


Feb. 15 is the filing deadline for Local 802 Music Service Agreements and LS-1 contracts for the Health Fund contribution period ending Dec. 31, 2008. For more information, call the Health Department at (212) 245-4802.


We’re giving the following businesses a free plug in Allegro.

Why? They bought or pledged an ad in this year’s new journal of the Emergency Relief Fund, which helps the union help musicians.

To buy an ad in this year’s journal, or to contribute, contact Robert Bander at or (212) 245-4802, ext. 187.

Here’s the current honor roll: Brooklyn Academy of Music, Consolidated Color Press, Five Towns College, Hank Lane Music and Productions, the Juilliard School, Manhattan Theatre Club, Manny’s Music, MicroCore, Madison Square Garden Entertainment, New York Grand Opera, Oratorio Society of Greater New York, Roundabout Theatre, Salchow & Sons Bowmakers, Sam Ash Music, Town Hall and the Village Vanguard.


In the last issue of Allegro, we reported on the new contract with the Stamford Symphony Orchestra. We wrote that all engagements requiring a separate trip to Stamford paid mileage. In fact, Stamford Symphony Orchestra agreed to pay mileage for all engagements requiring a separate trip to Stamford except for Educational Outreach engagements.


How are musicians really making a living out there? What are the latest cool gizmos and Web sites for musicians? Both of these questions (and more!) are addressed in Local 802 member David Hahn’s blog, at Some current topics: using Craigslist to find gigs; new transcribing software; and what’s life really like on a cruise ship for musicians.

If you write a blog, e-mail Allegro editor Mikael Elsila at and we may feature it in Allegro.


It pays to be union. Local 802’s Recording Department recently recovered just over $22,000 in late fees and penalties for musicians who performed the theme for the ABC Sports auto-racing show “High Gear.” There are a variety of reasons that networks might short musicians’ pay: neglect and human error are two of the most common. It’s the job of musicians and the union to be vigilant. In this case, the Recording Department was able to correct the wages of 25 musicians going back to April 2006. Recording musicians who have any concerns about their pay should contact the Recording Department at (212) 245-4802.


In the past several months, Local 802 has achieved a number of contracts with Off Broadway productions, workshops or readings.

We won agreements with “Sessions,” “Tony ‘n’ Tina’s Wedding,” “Fantasticks,” “Rock of Ages,” “Going Hollywood,” “The Big Time,” “Lucky Break,” “Happiness,” “Forbidden Broadway: Goes To Rehab” and “Mother Russia — the Musical.”

We also won contracts at the Roundabout’s Laura Pels Theatre, the York Theatre and the Irish Repertory Theatre.

For details about any of these agreements, contact Mary Donovan at or (212) 245-4802, ext. 156.


Local 802 has reached a grievance settlement with the American Opera Projects performance of “This is the Rill Speaking.” The musician playing clarinet and bass clarinet had originally not been paid doubling fees and related pension for performances and rehearsals which took place in April 2008. AOP has now paid those fees in full.


The good news: Local 802 has settled a grievance involving the termination of two steady musicians at the Ritz Carlton Central Park Hotel. The union filed the grievance after two members were terminated in August following two separate alleged incidents. The settlement came during the subsequent arbitration hearing and totaled $15,000 in lost wages and benefits.

That’s the good news. Here’s the bad news.

Citing the economic downturn and a drop in revenues, the Plaza, Hilton, Ritz Carlton Central Park, Park Lane and Peninsula Hotels have suspended live music at least until the spring.


If you are a recording musician, you’re probably used to the ritual of coming by the union periodically to see if you have any checks waiting for you. But if you use the Actors Federal Credit Union as your bank, you can have your recording checks deposited automatically to your account. The credit union has a branch on the fourth floor of Local 802. (Any musician can join.) There you’ll find automatic deposit forms. Fill one out and get it notarized. (Local 802 can notarize it for you: see Lisa Mejia or Fran McDonald in the Concert Department on the fourth floor.) Return the notarized form to the credit union. Now any recording checks that are owed to you will be pulled once a week and sent up to the credit union. They’ll deduct the work dues, deposit your money and mail you the stubs and receipts.


Looking for a night out with intelligent entertainment? The union that represents CUNY professors sponors a movie series called “Labor Goes to the Movies.” For complete schedule information, see