Local 802’s intervention produced more than $890,000 in wages and benefits that musicians would not otherwise have received, during the first six months of 1999.
The largest portion went to recording musicians, who work under union contracts in the segment of the music industry which generates high payrolls along with frequent contract violations. But more than $150,000, or close to 20 percent of the total, was the result of energetic contract enforcement in the club date, hotel, Off-Broadway and concert fields.
Following is an overview of Local 802 collections:
The Recording Department collected a total of $734,841 in unpaid wages and benefits during the first six months of the year. The collections involved 1,625 musician dates and 128 separate contracts.
“The unusually high level of collections reflected the fact that some of these grievances have been in the works for some time,” said Jay Schaffner, Assistant Supervisor of the Recording Department.
The union’s phono agreements generated more than 40 percent of the total: $307,351 was collected for 557 musician dates. Grievances under the videotape agreement produced $152,547 for 518 musician dates, another 20 percent of the total. Just under $80,000 was collected for musicians working under both the jingle and basic cable agreements. And Local 802 collected close to $64,000 for work done under the PBS agreement, and $33,640 for musicians who performed theme music for two NPR shows.
A separate article highlighting what went into these collections appears on page xx.
In the single engagement club date field, Local 802 won 40 grievances, for a total of $113,608. Of this, $65,890 was for pension, $20,676 for health benefits, $900 for wages and $17,142 for unpaid work dues that had been checked off by the employer.
For hotel steady engagements, 802 collected a total of $24,324 for 11 separate grievances involving 62 musicians. Of this, $13,386 was for pension, $6,285 for health benefits, $3,372 for wages and $1,281 for check-off work dues.
Benefit payments make up by far the greatest part of these collections. Jim Hannen, Contract Administration Supervisor, pointed out that when signatories do jobs without filing contracts, they usually pay scale wages but not the pension and health benefits required by the agreement. And although work dues are often withheld from the musicians’ checks, they are not forwarded to the union.
“In many cases, the health benefit contributions we collect can make the difference for musicians qualifying for coverage under Plan A or Plan B,” Hannen said..
Grievance collections for Off-Broadway musicians totaled $8,137 – wages of $3,420, pension of $2,274, $2,340 in health benefits and work dues of $103.
While these collections were significant, Hannen noted, “the most important benefit of Local 802’s involvement is in bringing Off Broadway and developmental projects under contract, providing the musicians with health and pension benefits that would otherwise not be paid, and ensuring them identity with the product when the performance moves to Broadway or to a larger house.”
The Concert Department collected a total of $10,907 for two grievances involving 56 musicians – $7,229 in back wages, $2,468 in pension and $1,150 in health benefit contributions. New Organizing Director Tim Dubnau pointed out that one of the major focuses of the Concert Department involves preventing illegal recordings – and in fact the larger of the two grievances was against the Sacred Music Society, for an illegal recording. ð