Volume CVI, No. 5May, 2006
Preparations for the 2007 Broadway negotiations are well underway. Recently, the Local 802 Executive Board approved a Broadway Community Initiative proposed by the Broadway Theatre Committee. The initiative will provide a training program for the Broadway delegates, which will include advanced, more focused training sessions in anticipation of the upcoming 2007 negotiations. The program will have some elements of shop steward/delegate training and will concentrate on our particular industry and the Broadway contract.
The goal is to prepare us for negotiations and to provide a better understanding of the Broadway contract. The program will consist of four elements: 1) A focus on collective bargaining: Preparation, Techniques and Procedures; 2) A focus on past negotiations with the League, Disney and MRI; Preparation of proposals, research needs, and public relations strategies; 3) Delegate training with elements of shop steward training; and 4) A similar program that will be offered to House Contractors. 802 Counsel Len Leibowitz, and Arbitrator and Professor of Labor Relations Margaret Leibowitz will conduct the sessions.
This initiative will provide a valuable opportunity for the rank-and-file committee to thoughtfully and collectively prepare for the negotiations ahead. In addition, the Theatre Committee has established a subcommittee to focus on the current state of Broadway and to explore the critical issues we will be facing in the upcoming negotiations. I have begun to meet regularly with the committee, along with 802 counsel and the union’s public relations firm, Ken Sunshine Consultants.
Good communication throughout our community will be key as we move forward in preparation for the talks ahead. In the coming weeks, I will be conducting the first of many visits to every Broadway pit to discuss your priorities, as well as your concerns. Each orchestra will be notified well in advance of the meetings. The meetings will include 802 counsel and representatives of the Theatre Committee and Executive Board. I urge every Broadway musician to attend.
As reported in last month’s Allegro, Local 802 has been engaged in negotiations with the Metropolitan Opera for a comprehensive media agreement. Those talks have been progressing. Recently, the orchestra committee, its counsel and I met with the orchestra to apprise them of the status of negotiations and to get the musicians’ input on key issues.
On April 23 and 24, I attended the AFM negotiations for a Symphonic Live Recording Agreement. These were the fourth in a series of negotiation meetings that began a little over a year ago. The multi-employer bargaining group includes approximately 50 symphony and opera managers from throughout the U.S. and Canada. The union negotiating team is comprised of AFM officers and staff, local officers and representatives from the ICSOM, ROPA and OCSM Player Conferences. These are the first audio recording negotiations conducted directly with the orchestra managers, and not with the record companies. These negotiations are specifically intended to reach an agreement that would cover live and archival recordings only. Studio recordings will continue to be covered under the Sound Recording Labor Agreement. We will keep you posted on the progress of these negotiations.
A similar such agreement was recently reached between Local 802 and the New York Philharmonic. That agreement, which was ratified by the orchestra last fall, provides an upfront payment to each musician of 6 percent of one week’s basic scale as advance against revenue sharing for each project. Thereafter, 50 percent of gross receipts will be shared pro-rata with each musician. Musicians will also receive a pension contribution of 10 percent to the AFM-EPF on all payments. As in the national negotiations, this agreement will cover live and archival recordings only. One important provision of the agreement gives the musicians project by project approval. In addition, the agreement includes a “most favored nations clause” which will incorporate any terms negotiated in the national agreement that are more favorable, as determined by the orchestra as a whole. There has already been new recording activity by the Philharmonic, under this new agreement. Two projects have been approved by the orchestra, most recently a three-year CD and Internet deal with Deutsche Grammophon.
MAINTAINING A HIGH PROFILE
On April 14, I was invited to have breakfast with Mayor Bloomberg, along with three other union presidents (Raglan George, DC 1707; Michael Paladino, DEA; and Michael Goodwin, OPEIU). The mayor called the meeting to stay in touch with labor leaders who he has developed strong relationships with and to get current on our issues. The mayor recently announced that the city would create a new office within the Economic Development Corporation to aggressively pitch New York City around the world as the nation’s art and cultural capital. We will be exploring ways in which Local 802 and the mayor’s office can work together on such initiatives.
On May 3, Local 802, the Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund and the New York State Governor’s Office for Motion Picture and TV Development will cosponsor a VIP Film Music Dinner produced by ASCAP at the Tribeca Film Festival. Attendees will include 15 film composers, some with films at the festival, and other NYC-based composers.
WE’RE IN THE BLACK!
A little over a year ago, I requested that the Local 802 Executive Board implement an immediate temporary hiring freeze, upon learning that we had not achieved the anticipated revenue we had planned for in the 2004 budget.
In preparing the 2004 budget, the Executive Board was mindful of the promises we made when we asked the membership to approve a dues increase back in October 2003. We had promised to allocate half of the increase in work dues (0.25 percent) to fund public relations initiatives, allocate funds to restore key staff positions and increase services, and provide a financial reserve to ensure the union’s financial stability into the foreseeable future.
The request for a dues increase was predicated on several circumstances. 802 had gone from a gain of $246,000 in 2000 to a loss of $364,000 just two years later. Much of the loss had to do with spending money on public relations and the union’s Live Music Campaign in the years leading up to the 2003 Broadway negotiations.
In addition, the union’s controller had also advised that the union’s expenses were expected to grow at 3 percent annually while revenues would grow by 2 percent. Without an increase in revenue, Local 802 would continue to show growing losses into the future. The dues increase was not proposed as a short-term stopgap, but was intended to make us whole for the foreseeable future.
Members voted in favor of raising the dues 0.5 percent by a margin of over two to one.
In reviewing the actual income and expenses of the union from January through November 2004, however, it became apparent that we did not realize our anticipated revenue. And although we ended the year in the black, that would not have been the case had we filled all the staff positions we had intended. Regardless, the financial surplus that we had planned on was not achieved.
I am pleased to report that by adjusting course with the temporary hiring freeze, which was in effect for about a half a year, and operating on a budget that assumed a more conservative expectation in dues revenue, we ended 2005 in the black by over $240,000.
On April 25, Local 802 Executive Board member Mary Whitaker submitted her resignation to the board, effective immediately. In this issue of Allegro, Mary shares the reasons for her decision (see “Views From the Board,” page 8). I would like to take this opportunity to express my deep appreciation for Mary’s outstanding service to the union and its members. In the somewhat brief time we have served together on the board, I have been impressed with Mary’s dedication to union principles and her fervent resolve that Local 802 remains a union that truly honors the rank-and-file committee system. I know that she will continue to serve the members of this union well, through her committee work and passionate involvement in union affairs. We wish her well.
I am pleased to inform you that the Local 802 Executive Board unanimously appointed Bill Rohdin to fill the vacancy. Bill served on the Executive Board from 2001 to 2003 and has chaired the Trial Board from 2004 to the present. In the last election he was the candidate who received the most votes of those candidates who were not elected. We look forward to his participation on the board.
Lastly, I have informed the Executive Board that I will be directing the controller’s office to institute a personal payroll deduction to cover all legal fees incurred from the Cary report ($16,376). I’ve asked that this be deducted from my weekly paycheck in equal installments commencing June 1, 2006 through Dec. 31, 2006.