Rehearsal, performance and videotape. Sixty musicians, no union contract, no pension and health benefits, and wages of just $350. These were the sub-scale, nonunion terms presented to the musicians hired to perform in the Jewish Learning Group’s Chabad Centennial at the Manhattan Center on Sunday, March 10. The engagement, billed as a symphonic celebration of the 100th birthday of Rabbi Manachem M. Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, was advertised as an “unprecedented musical undertaking,” and “a philharmonic experience unmatched in Jewish music history…that will leave audiences inspired, warmed, and truly uplifted.”
Unfortunately, the terms were less uplifting for the musicians. The producer’s plan to pay under-scale wages with no benefits would have undermined union scales, prevented the musicians from earning needed contributions to their health and pension plans, and sent a devastating message about the possibility of producing large, public events in New York City without a union contract.
Several members called the union to report the engagement. Through last-minute negotiations, 802 succeeded in getting the job filed as a local recording agreement that increased wages by $42 and provided full pension and health benefits and standard union protections.
As part of 802’s ongoing “Shine a Light on Dark Dates” campaign, the union urges musicians to call in their engagements. Local 802 has a strong track record of turning nonunion dates into legitimate union engagements. For more information, please contact the Recording Department or the Organizing Department.
Non-Commercial Reading Agreement
Fangs: A contract was negotiated with Musical Theatre Group, Inc., for a three-week reading at CUNY’s Aaron Davis Hall, involving six musicians. The minimum scale wage for side musicians is $480 for a maximum work week of 36 hours over six days, and the music director/conductor premium is an additional 50 percent. Musicians receive 12½ percent for the first double and 6¼ percent for each additional instrument, and a 25 percent synthesizer premium. Health benefits are $50 per week and pension is 8 percent. Music preparation is paid at Broadway scale. All musicians have identity with the product.
Dracula: An agreement with Dodger Productions, Inc., provides a minimum scale wage for side musicians of $746.40 for no more than 30 hours per week, over a six-day work week. The music director/conductor will receive a 50 percent premium. Musicians receive 12½ percent for the first and 6¼ percent for each additional double, and a 25 percent synthesizer premium. Health benefits are $54 per week and pension is 8 percent. The musicians have identity with the product.
Menopause The Musical: This one-year agreement with New York City, Girls Night Out, LLC, Brent Peek Productions, covers three musicians in this production at the 199-seat Theatre Four. The minimum scale for an eight-performance week is $550 for the side musicians and $852.50 for the music director/conductor, inclusive of the synthesizer premium. The rehearsal/audition musician receives $852.50 for a 40-hour week and $35 per hour, for a minimum two-hour call. The orchestra receives $22 per hour for a minimum two-hour call. Musicians will be paid 12½ percent for the first and 6¼ percent for each additional double. Vacation is an additional 4 percent, health benefits are $54 per week, and pension is 8 percent of gross wages. The musicians earn one sick performance every 48 performances. Music preparation is paid at 100 percent of the General Price List. All musicians have identity with the product.
Local 802 was to meet with the Off-Broadway League for the next negotiations on March 26 and April 8. For information on Off-Broadway, call Senior Business Rep Mary Donovan at (212) 245-4802, ext. 156.