Negotiations & Grievances

Volume CVIII, No. 11November, 2008


A grievance settlement was reached with the American Symphony Orchestra involving the cancellation of five musicians from several rehearsals and performances at Bard. The musicians had been paid for the cancelled services but their pay did not include overtime from the performances, travel pay and cartage for one of the musicians. The settlement provided for the overtime and travel payments plus the applicable pension on these payments.


Local 802 recently concluded negotiations for a four-year successor agreement with the Big Apple Circus. Wages increase to $114 from $110 per show in the first year, and will increase to $130 per show in the fourth year.

Pension increases to 6 percent from 5 percent in the first year, and will increase to 10 percent in the final year of the contract — effectively doubling over the life of the contract.

Doubles, which had previously been paid as a dollar amount will now be paid as a percentage of scale wages. Musicians will earn 10 percent for doubling on up to three instruments and 5 percent for each additional instrument. Also, the violin was guaranteed a double, ensuring that all members of the band have at least one double.

Programming, previously unpaid, will now be paid $10.50 per hour, or half of the hourly rehearsal rate, which is currently $21.

In addition, musicians who have private insurance may opt to have their health benefit payments diverted to the circus’ Flex Spending Account.

Local 802 was represented by Vice President Bill Dennison and Senior Broadway Representative/Organizer Marisa Friedman. All of the Big Apple Circus musicians took part in the negotiations as well.


A settlement has been reached in a grievance between the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra and Local 802.

The grievance occurred when the BPO failed to hire its tenured timpanist to perform a part written for timpani/marimba. The union contended the part was a timpani part with a marimba double and the tenured timpanist had a right to first call for this work. (The tenured timpanist had played marimba for BPO several times in the past when this was needed.)

The BPO contended the music director desired the part to be played by a BPO percussionist other than the tenured timpanist.

The settlement resulted in a $500 payment to the tenured timpanist.

This settlement should not be construed as an admission that BPO violated the collective bargaining agreement.


Gramercy Brass has signed a recognition agreement with Local 802. This obligates the company to negotiate terms and conditions with the union in venues where the union has or has had applicable collective bargaining agreements.


Seven String, LTD, a jazz group that features John and Martin Pizzarrelli, Larry Fuller and Tony Tedesco, has signed a two-year successor collective bargaining agreement with Local 802. Wages remained steady, but health benefit contributions were increased. For engagements with more than seven musicians, health contributions rose to $18 from $12 per musician per performance or rehearsal, with a cap of $75 per week (up from $58). For performances or rehearsals using seven or fewer musicians, health contributions rose to $30 from $23 per musician per performance or rehearsal, with a cap of $100 per week (up from $60). Pension remained steady at 15 percent.