Jazz at Lincoln Center Agreement Awaits Ratification by Orchestra

Volume CII, No. 2February, 2002

In December Local 802 and Jazz at Lincoln Center reached tentative agreement on a new contract covering both the resident Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and the other artists who perform in the program’s concerts and tours. The agreement has still to be ratified by orchestra members.

The proposed five-year contract was achieved after numerous meetings with orchestra members and with Jazz at Lincoln Center management. The involvement of orchestra members who attended negotiations and spoke about the issues important to them was instrumental in moving the negotiations forward.

The proposed new agreement includes increases in scale wages and pension contributions as well as full health insurance coverage for the regular orchestra members. Further details of the agreement will be published in Allegro after ratification is complete.

Jazz at Lincoln Center has undergone substantial growth during the last several years. A decade ago the program sponsored a few concerts each year. Now the orchestra’s 16 members are engaged on a nearly year-round basis, and their work includes numerous concert performances and several weeks of tours. A new performance space for the Jazz at Lincoln Center program is currently under construction as part of a larger AOL-Time Warner headquarters building at Columbus Circle.

The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra is one of only three resident jazz orchestras covered by union agreements. Members of the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra receive pension and health benefit contributions for their concert performances, which have also grown in number over the last few years. Likewise, members of the Smithsonian Jazz Orchestra, under a contract with AFM Local 161-710 in Washington, D.C., receive benefit contributions for their work.