Negotiations & Grievances

Volume CIX, No. 4April, 2009


The Theatre Department has settled two outstanding grievances with the producers of “Tale of Two Cities,” which closed last November.

One grievance concerned a rehearsal that was called on less than seven days’ notice before the official opening of the show. Musicians who could not attend were excused but were docked one eighth of a week’s pay because the rehearsal in question was in place of a performance. The union contended that they should be paid the full week’s wages because sufficient notice was not given, while management asserted that excusing them for other work was sufficient. After discussion at a grievance hearing management agreed to pay the amounts in question.

The other grievance concerned recorded material which was placed on the company’s Web site. Originally, the union made a claim for $25,285, based upon a $65 Web site payment for each three minutes of material used. The employer demonstrated that most of the music used had come from a concept album which had been recorded nonunion several years in advance of the show’s opening. Ultimately, the amount of the claim was reduced to adjust for this material and the employer agreed to pay. Musicians in the show will receive $6,435.


Local 802 signed an agreement with the Off Broadway production “Rooms” using Local 802’s Commercial Off Broadway Area Standards (a/k/a the “Pink Book”) for a 350-seat theatre. There are five musicians in the show and each will earn $869.45 for an eight-show week. For the complete details, e-mail Principal Theatre Rep Mary Donovan at


A new agreement covering musicians performing with vocalist Michael Amante has been finalized. Scale wages remain unchanged from the previous agreement; however, all musicians are paid overscale. Pension increases to 14 percent from 13 percent and health benefit contributions increase to $30 per engagement. Any questions about the agreement should be directed to Senior Business Rep Richard Schilio at (212) 245-4802, ext. 146.


The Theatre Department has settled a long-standing dispute with the Shubert Organization concerning payment of hospitalization to members of orchestras in the period before public performances begin.

For a number of years, Local 802 has had a dispute with this employer over failure to pay hospitalization for each member of the orchestra during the rehearsal period prior to the first public performance.

Although the local believed that orchestra musicians were due hospitalization from the first day of employment, the employer asserted that it was not due until the first paid performance.

Although the amounts were not large, this had become a recurring issue whenever a new show opened at a Shubert theatre.

Initially, it was hoped that this issue had been resolved when the hospitalization and health benefits funds were merged in the 2007 negotiations. Combining the payments meant that both health benefits and hospitalization could be pro-rated in the first week of employment, which is often less than a full week of work. Under the previous agreement, hospitalization was paid weekly and was not pro-rated.

Unfortunately, this belief proved to be false when the hospitalization portion of the health benefit payment was withheld during the first two weeks of employment for both “Shrek” and “Billy Elliot.”

The union filed a grievance seeking to require the Shubert Organization to pay the shortfalls and conform to the health benefit computations used by other theatre owners.

These shortfalls, totaling $2,923.25, have now been paid and health benefits are now being paid by all Broadway employers in a uniform manner to the benefit of the fund and all the musicians who depend upon it for coverage.