Love,Janis Producers Fire Two Musicians for Being Union Members

Volume CI, No. 5May, 2001

Local 802 was in the midst of a battle with the producers of an off-Broadway show called Love,Janis, as this issue went to press. At least two musicians who had been told they were hired for the show were later told they were not going to get the gig because they were union members.

Local 802 immediately asked the National Labor Relations Board to issue formal charges against the producers for this blatant violation of federal labor law. The union is insisting that the employer be directed to re-engage the two dismissed musicians and enter into talks for a contract covering the musicians working the show.

“Over the last decade we have made enormous progress in the off-Broadway field,” said Local 802 President Bill Moriarity. “Musicians working in this area now have health and pension benefits as well as job security. What the producers of this show are trying to do threatens all of these gains.”

The union made several attempts to convince the producers to begin discussions about an agreement, while the show was being put together here in New York. The producers refused, and tried to convince the musicians they hired that this was a “non-union” show.

However, other members of the production, including actors and the director, are covered by union agreements that provide pension, health benefits and job security, as well as a grievance and arbitration procedure. And the show was covered by a musicians’ union contract when it was produced in Chicago.

Love, Janis started performances at the Village Theater on Bleecker Street on April 10. Several days of boisterous demonstrations in front of the theatre have led to discussions between the NLRB and the producers over a possible settlement. Those discussions were continuing, as were the demonstrations, as this issue went to press.