Negotiations Roundup

Volume CII, No. 7/8July, 2002


Over the past several months Local 802 and the Metropolitan Opera Association have reached agreement for successor contracts for the Met Extra Musicians, the Met Music Staff and the Librarians for the five-year period from Aug. 1, 2001, to July 31, 2006. Agreement for the same period for the regular orchestra was reached in May of 2000. However, a dispute which arose over the pension provision had held up other negotiations.

All of the units received wage increases of 3 percent in the first year, 3 percent in the second, 4 percent in the third, 3 percent in the fourth and 4 percent in the final year. The Extra Musicians also obtained the same substantial rehearsal payment increases as the regular orchestra.

The pension provision will be finalized prior to the third year for all musicians qualified for the Met internal plan. If that plan is improved as anticipated, Music Staff members who qualify for the AFM pension will receive a 4 percent increase in contributions, to 7 percent, by the end of the contract, while Extra Musicians who qualify for the AFM pension will receive an additional 3 percent vacation payment. If the plan is not improved, all musicians’ wages will be increased by an additional 1 percent in the first, second and fourth years.

In a major modification, the Librarians agreement was restructured to more closely conform to the regular orchestra pay and hours provisions.

In an important new component of the Extra Musicians contract, the committee was successful in negotiating a first-call list of 13 musicians, beyond the already established first-call pool musicians and salaried strings. This list will be chosen prior to the 2003-2004 season. The committee also achieved increased sick leave, guaranteed payment for a radio broadcast, increased Local 802 Health Benefits contributions and modest pension protection should there be further regular orchestra expansion.

The Extra Musicians and Librarians have ratified their agreements; the Music Staff is scheduled to ratify in September.

The Librarians’ agreement was negotiated by librarian Robert Sutherland.

The Music Staff rank-and-file committee consisted of Jane Klaviter (chair), Steven Eldredge, Steven Crawford, Robert Morrison, Robert Myers and Kathleen Kelly. They were assisted by legal counsel Neil Lipton of the firm Spivak, Lipton, Watanabe, Spivak and Moss, and by Local 802 President Bill Moriarity.

The Extra Musicians’ committee was made up of Browning Cramer (co-chair), Leszek Barnat (co-chair), Judy Currier, Shem Guibbory, Ron Arron, Larry Witmer and Lynn Bernhardt. They were assisted first by the late I. Philip Sipser as legal counsel and then by Local 802 legal counsel Lenny Leibowitz, and by President Moriarity.


A new three-year contract covering the St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s was ratified on June 5. The agreement mirrors many provisions of the industry-wide freelance concert agreement, and was negotiated concurrently with it.

Both St. Luke’s ensembles pay overscale, but the base scale wage has traditionally been the freelance concert rates. However, unlike the other freelance orchestras, St. Luke’s did not request a wage freeze this year. Base scale performance wages will increase 4 percent in the first year, 4 percent in the second and 6 percent in the third, to $200. Base scale rehearsal wages increase by 4 percent in year one and mirror freelance rehearsal scale in years two and three.

The union was able to maintain chamber music minimums, in exchange for some new and reasonable guidelines on scheduling and notification. Pension and per service health contributions increased at the same level as the other freelance contracts, while cartage increases exceeded those won in those agreements. Cartage for eligible instruments will be $21 in the first year, $23 in the second and $25 in the third year, while cartage for bass rises to $31.50 by the third year. “These figures are much closer to the actual costs of cartage than our other agreements,” said Assistant Director David Lennon. “We would like to see similar improvements in all freelance agreements.”

The job security provision was modified to institute a peer review procedure similar to those used in other freelance orchestras. Language on international touring conditions was incorporated, although wages will continue to be negotiated on a case-by-case basis. The parties agreed to meet periodically to discuss concerns regarding Schedule C players.

Wages for performances at the Caramoor International Music Festival also increased by 4 percent, 4 percent and 6 percent, with the ensemble weekly minimum rising to $1,125 in the third year.

The committee was made up of Stewart Rose (chair), Daria Fitzgerald, Michael Powell, Joe Anderer and Ron Carbone. They were assisted by 802 Counsel Lenny Leibowitz, Financial Vice-President Tina Hafemeister, Assistant Director David Lennon and Concert Rep Joe Delia.


The current round of freelance concert negotiations drew to a close with achievement of this agreement, which was ratified by the Executive Board on July 2. The basic economic package, librarian provision, language on tours and runouts, working conditions and recordings, as well as elimination of an attendance requirement in the first year, all mirror the New York Pops agreement.

Among the provisions unique to this orchestra is a 20 percent overscale for works that use 18 or fewer musicians. The employer has a history of consulting with musicians on their schedules before setting rehearsals, and it was agreed that this practice will be incorporated into the contract. In the event that an educational service is not co-funded by MPTF, management may request from the Executive Board the right to compensate musicians at Public Service scale. If this is not agreed to, they will pay $80 an hour for a minimum of two hours.


On June 8 the Goldman Memorial Band ratified a three-year contract with a guaranteed season of at least six concerts in each of the three years. The new contract breaks the tradition of one-year agreements and provides a pay increase of $5 above public service performance scale and $1 above public service rehearsal scale in each year of the agreement. Historically, the band has been paid at public service scale, or slightly higher. (The Public Service performance scale is currently $128.50). In addition, the attendance requirement for the guaranteed season was reduced from 100 percent required attendance to 60 percent, for tenured players.

The final agreement was the result of last-minute negotiations between 802 and management after the musicians rejected a proposed agreement on May 29. After an emergency meeting with band members on June 3, in which they voted overwhelmingly to approve strike authorization, the union went back to management and informed them of issues that needed to be resolved to reach an agreement. Specifically, the musicians were concerned that a three-year contract would jeopardize their traditionally guaranteed season and that the hiring order for additional concerts would place substitutes who played the entire guaranteed season ahead of musicians who were on leave for that season.

802 was able to achieve first-call status for all tenured musicians, including those on leave. Management also agreed to guarantee at least six concerts in every year of the agreement. The final ratification vote, which passed overwhelmingly, was taken just before the season’s first rehearsal.

The union’s negotiating team was comprised of Terry Pierce (chair), Steven Bohall, Enid Brodsky, Howard Harris, Peter Pane and Local 802 Concert Rep Joe Delia. Assistant Director David Lennon assisted in finalizing the negotiation.


Local 802 members working at the Gateway/Patchogue Theatre unanimously ratified a new collective bargaining agreement covering their employment through April 30, 2005. The agreement, negotiated by Long Island Regional Director Bob Gulluscio, calls for wage increases of 6.5 percent in the first year and 6 percent in the second year, as well as across-the-board increases in doubling, audition and rehearsal pay. Rest periods during rehearsal weeks increased from 20 to 30 minutes and musicians will now receive overtime for sound checks after the rehearsal week. Pension contributions increase from 3 percent to 4 percent in year one and to 5 percent in the second year.


Although negotiations for an Off-Broadway agreement have made little progress since Local 802 and the producers opened talks earlier this year, Local 802 continues to negotiate contracts that are establishing common standards for musicians in this field. Unless otherwise indicated, the agreements below include 8 percent pension and $54 in weekly health benefit contributions, and musicians have identity with the product. Premiums include 12½ percent for the first and 6¼ percent for each additional double, and 25 percent for synthesizer.

Thunder Knocking on the Door: A one-year agreement with Thunder On Stage, L.L.C., Roger Gindi, General Manager, for the five musicians in this production at the 399-seat Minetta Lane Theatre provides a minimum weekly scale wage for side musicians of $775, inclusive of one guaranteed double, and a 50 percent music director/conductor premium. All additional premiums are calculated on a base of $737.50. The rehearsal/audition musician scale is $800 for a 40-hour/six-day work week and $30 per hour, for a minimum two-hour call. The orchestra rehearsal scale is $20 per hour, for a minimum two-hour call.

Serving as librarian, if needed, shall be compensated at 12½ percent. One week of vacation is paid after 25 weeks of employment, and paid at 4 percent in each week’s paycheck thereafter. Sick leave is accumulated at one performance for every 48 performances worked. Music preparation is 100 percent of General Price List.

Free To Be You And Me: A contract with the Drama Department for this production at the 99-seat Greenwich House Theatre provides the Music Director/solo musician with $2,000 for three 36-hour weeks of rehearsal and $500 per week for a seven-performance week. The minimum weekly scale for the rehearsal/audition musician is $450 for a 40-hour/six-day week and $25 per hour, for a minimum two-hour call. As of the ninth week of performances, the employer shall pay an additional 6 percent as vacation pay. Health benefits are $50 per week, and the musician earns one performance sick pay for every 48 performances worked. Music preparation is paid at 100 percent of General Price List.

Odyssey: A six-week agreement was reached with the Willow Cabin Theatre Company for the three musicians performing live incidental music at St. Clement’s Episcopal Church and Theatre. The minimum weekly scale wage is $500 for an eight-performance week, with a 25 percent premium for the music director. The rehearsal/audition musician scale is $500 for a 40-hour/six-day week and $22 per hour, for a minimum two-hour call. The hourly orchestra rehearsal scale is $20 per hour for a minimum two-hour call. Health benefits are $50 for each performance week, $5.40 for the first two hours of rehearsal, and $5.40 for additional rehearsals, to a maximum of $54 per week. Musicians accumulate sick leave on the basis of one for every 48 performances of work.

The Prince And The Pauper: Local 802 and The Prince And The Pauper, L.P., Nancy Gibbs, General Manager, have signed a two-year contract for this production at the 349-seat Lamb’s Theatre, which utilizes three musicians. The minimum weekly scale for an eight-performance week is $760, inclusive of one guaranteed double, with a 50 percent premium for the music director/conductor and 15 percent for the associate conductor. The rehearsal/audition musician will earn $800 for a 40-hour/six-day week and $30 per hour, for a minimum two-hour call. The orchestra rehearsal scale is $20 per hour for a minimum two-hour call. Overtime is time and one half. There is a one-week paid vacation after 25 weeks of employment. Sick leave of one performance is earned for every 48 worked. Music preparation is 100 percent of General Price List.

Vienna Lusthaus (revisited): A letter of agreement extends the original eight-week contract through Aug. 11, 2002. The minimum scale weekly wages are now $675, a 23 percent increase over the original terms. The premium for the music director rose from 25 to 50 percent and health benefits increased from $50 to $54 per week. Five musicians are employed in the production.

Twelfth Night: A letter of agreement has been negotiated extending the terms of the three-year collective bargaining agreement reached in 1998 with New York Shakespeare Festival for this summer’s production at the Delacorte Theatre. The new minimum weekly scale wages for the side musicians is $688 for an eight-performance week. The weekly rehearsal scale is $905 for a 40-hour week and $32 per hour, for a minimum two-hour call. Health benefits increased from $47.50 to $54 per week.

For information regarding Off-Broadway, call Senior Theatre Rep Mary Donovan at (212) 245-4802, ext. 156.