Local 802 and Roundabout Theatre Reach Agreement

Volume CII, No. 9September, 2002

Mary Donovan

On July 9 Local 802 concluded negotiations with the Roundabout Theatre Company for a three-year contract covering all musicians employed at the American Airlines Theatre and future employment at Studio 54 following the run of Cabaret, which is under a separate agreement. The contract also requires the employer to negotiate in good faith for musicians it employs in productions at other theatres.

Bargaining had begun on March 8 and a tentative agreement was reached several weeks later. By July 9, however, the first day of orchestra rehearsals for The Boys from Syracuse, the agreement had still not been signed by the employer. At that point Local 802 informed the employer that without a signed agreement work on the production could not proceed. The union also met with the orchestra to explain the circumstances. A short time later the contract was signed, a bond was posted and work proceeded.

The new agreement represents a substantial improvement over the last Roundabout contract, which expired in 1998. Wages increase by 25% along with improvements in both health and pension benefits. In addition, following the subscription period at each theater, the Broadway wage and benefit rates become effective at both theater spaces. The subscription period at the American Airlines Theater is 18 weeks and at Studio 54 is 12 weeks. This period allows presentations to the theater subscriber base, who pay a reduced ticket price.

Effective March 8, 2002 the base scale wage for side musicians for an eight-performance week is $905, increasing to $937 in year two and $970 in the third year. In addition, each musician is guaranteed a 12½ percent doubling premium which in the first year brings musicians’ base wage to $1,018.13, or approximately 80 percent of the minimum scale in the Broadway contract. All premiums are calculated on the base scale wage inclusive of the guaranteed doubling premium.

The music director/conductor and associate conductor will receive premiums of 50 percent and 15 percent respectively. Although the employer is not required to hire a playing contractor, any orchestra member who performs contractor services will receive a 50 percent premium.

Effective March 8, the rehearsal/audition musician’s scale will be $1,087, increasing to $1,125.05 in the second year and $1,164.42 in the third, for a 40-hour, six-day work week. The hourly scale is $42.12 in year one, rising to $43.59 and then $45.12, for a minimum two-hour call. The rehearsal scale for the orchestra is $24.60 (rising to $27.20 and then $28.40) per hour, for a minimum two-and-one-half hour call. Musicians will receive a 6¼ percent premium for each additional instrument above two.

Vacation is 4 percent of gross wages; pension is 9 percent of weekly wages, including vacation; health benefits are $54 per week and, for the first time, The Roundabout will also be paying for hospitalization coverage at the rate of $29.91 per week for the regular orchestra members. Musicians earn one performance of sick leave for every 48 performances worked. They are to be reimbursed for transporting cartage instruments, including parking, and the costume premium is $25 per week. Music preparation is paid at full Broadway scale, with pension and health paid at General Price List.

The American Airlines Theatre has 750 seats. Studio 54 currently has 600, and is scheduled to expand. The Roundabout has also purchased a long-term lease on the American Place Theatre which, after renovation, will have 350-400 seats. Local 802 will negotiate a separate agreement for the new space, which will be renamed Laura Pels Theatre.