Musicians Win $44,000 Hotel Grievance
Volume CVII, No. 11November, 2007
A grievance for wages and benefits totaling just under $44,000 against the Renaissance Hotel was settled in September.
The dispute arose when the hotel failed to pay scale wages and benefits for a trio hired to perform in the hotel’s lounge from September 2006 through February 2007.
The hotel entered into an illegal independent contractor agreement with three musicians, paying them underscale, and failing to pay health and pension benefits.
Club Date Supervisor Jim Hannen, Senior Business Rep Richard Schilio and Local 802 Attorney Harvey Mars met with hotel management several times in an attempt to resolve the issue.
The grievance was resolved just weeks before a scheduled arbitration.
Retroactive wages and pension were also paid to two other musicians who worked at the Renaissance from March 2005 through June 2006.
Collected in the settlement were $29,305.16 in wages, $9,235.90 in pension contributions, $4,500 in health contributions and $927.90 in work dues.
Grievances like this usually arise as a result of a call from musicians working in hotels, or from field visits by Business Rep Schilio.
Many times hotel management responsible for hiring musicians is not aware the hotel is a signatory to an agreement with Local 802.
Most Local 802 members are aware of the hotel agreement, but when non-members are hired by signatory hotels they often are just happy to get the work and don’t think to call us.
It only takes a phone call to find out what you should be paid and what benefits you are entitled to receive.
If you work in a Manhattan hotel and don’t know whether you are being paid scale call Jim Hannen or Richard Schilio at (212) 245-4802, extensions 141 or 146.
GRIEVANCE AT “RENT” SETTLED
Local 802 has settled a grievance concerning underpayment of wages on the “Keyboard/Guitar 2” chair at “Rent.”
The underpayment, which was discovered at the beginning of 2007, dated to the opening of the show on Broadway and resulted in a claim of about $150,000.
It was complicated by the fact that it reached back beyond the statue of limitations and involved a dozen individuals who had either held or subbed on the chair.
Eventually, the producer offered a payment of $52,500 to settle the claim in its entirety.
The musicians affected by the underpayment unanimously decided to accept the settlement offer rather than taking the risk of arbitration.
After consulting with the individuals involved, the Executive Board decided to distribute the money to each person in proportion to the total amount owed.
As a result of the discovery of this grievance, the administration has instituted procedures designed to reduce the possibility of a similar occurrence in the future.
At the opening of new shows, the in-house contractor will meet with Local 802 staff to be sure that payrolls are being properly calculated.
Validation forms have been improved so that doubles and other premiums are clear. A rep will meet with individuals in each pit at the time each show begins to determine if the information on the validation form has changed during the rehearsal period.
When the in-house contractor changes, Local 802 will ask for payrolls from the departing contractor so that they can be preserved and will hold another meeting to assure that the new in-house contractor is processing payroll properly.