Musicians Collect Over $4,000 for Cancellation of Nonunion Session

Shining A Light On Dark Dates

Volume CI, No. 5May, 2001

Local 802 collected more than $4,000 for musicians when a nonunion recording session for a signatory employer was cancelled abruptly, after the union made it clear that the session must be done under contract. The settlement was among the most recent achievements of 802’s ongoing campaign to shine a light on dark recording dates.

The employer is Angelo Badalamente, a signatory to both the Theatrical Film and Television Film agreements. The union learned that musicians being called for the date were being told it was a nonunion session, and were being asked to meet on a corner on the Upper West Side to be driven to the Brockley-Robb studio in Fairfield, N.J.

They were told they would be paid $600 for a session that would last about six hours, and that the string section would probably be doing overdubs. The wage component was in the ballpark of scale wages, which are $275.69 per three-hour session, with a break between sessions. However, under the AFM agreement, overdubs pay an additional $275.69, pension is 10 percent, and health benefits are $15.54 per day. The music is for a French film featuring Jeanne Moreau which the producers claim will never be shown in the United States – always a questionable assertion.

“As a signatory to AFM agreements, Mr. Badalamente is not free to choose whether to do work union or nonunion,” Jay Schaffner, assistant supervisor of the Recording Department, told Allegro. “We informed him that the production the following day would be a union production. And we asked him, if he does not control distribution, to have the producer of the film sign an assumption agreement.” At 9 p.m. Badalamente informed the union that the date had been cancelled.

Local 802 responded by filing an unfair labor practice charge against Angelo Badalamente and his company, Anlon Music, contending that he was avoiding his contractual responsibilities and was refusing to employ musicians because they were members of the union and would work under a union agreement. The union also sought injunctive relief for damages. When Anlon Music and Angelo Badalamente were served with legal papers the employer contacted the union to find out how to resolve the dispute. He agreed to pay scale wages to all musicians who had been called for the date – because a film date cannot be cancelled without 96 hours’ notice – as well as pension and health benefits.

Schaffner credits 802’s campaign to shine a light on dark recording dates for bringing this situation to light. “A musician who had been called for the date mentioned it to a colleague, and he mentioned it to someone else,” Schaffner said. “Because of our campaign, musicians realized they had to let the union know about it.”

He urges musicians to immediately contact the union if they are called to do a date for Angelo Badalamente, for Anlon Music, or for Andy Badale. “This is work for a signatory employer and we will do everything to make sure that the employer lives up to his signatory responsibilities.” However, he points out that although Badalamente is the employer, he has no control over production – and unless an assumption agreement is signed musicians will be unable to collect special payments or payment for auxillary use of the recording.

Recording Department Senior Business Rep David Sheldon was in contact with both the musicians and Angelo Badalamente.