It Pays to Work Union!

Union collects over $3 million for members

Volume CIX, No. 5May, 2009

If you’ve ever tried to sue someone in court — and then tried to collect on the judgment — you know what a hassle that is. Sometimes it’s impossible. But musicians who work under union contracts don’t have to worry about paying a lawyer or endless lawsuits.

One of Local 802’s main jobs is to make sure musicians are paid their fair share. And the numbers for last year just came out: in 2008, Local 802 collected about $3.2 million for musicians. That is the most the union has ever collected for musicians in recent memory, and it may be the most Local 802 has ever won for musicians in its history.

“During a recession, it’s more important than ever that the union is vigilant about enforcing contracts and making sure that musicians get every penny they are owed,” Local 802 President Mary Landolfi told Allegro. “No one can afford to be underpaid just because an employer made a mistake — deliberate or otherwise. Our job is to catch those mistakes.”

The money that the union collects comes from missing wages, health, pension, cartage, parking and any other benefits in a specific contract.

  • As usual, the Recording Department led the pack in the amount of money recovered for musicians. Its total was $2.7 million, which involved 5,843 musician session-dates (see separate story).
  • The Theatre Department brought in $256,000 for musicians, including grievances at “Cyrano,” “Legally Blonde,” and “A Tale of Two Cities.”
  • The Concert Department collected $127,000 for musicians from a variety of orchestras.
  • The Club Date Department collected $64,000 for musicians and the Music Prep Department collected $25,000.

These totals indicate how much money the union won in wages and benefits that were returned to musicians. However, the union actually collected even more money from employers if you count missing work dues that the union was able to recover. Since this money doesn’t go directly to musicians, but instead helps the union operate, we traditionally don’t include those totals in these tallies.