Negotiations Roundup

Volume CIII, No. 12December, 2003


The DiCapo Opera Theatre and 802 have agreed to a new four-year contract that contains across-the-board increases in all major economic categories. The new agreement, which will cover all work until June 19, 2007, contains a nearly 28 percent increase over the life of the contract for performances and 25 percent increase in rehearsal wages.

The performance wage in the last year of the old agreement was $57.59 and will end up at $73.50 in the last year of the new agreement. Rehearsal rates will increase from $18.43 per hour in the last year of the old agreement to $23 per hour in the last year of the new agreement.

Pension contributions will increase from 10.5 percent in the last year of the old agreement to 13 percent in the last year of the new agreement.

Also included is new language that allows musicians some flexibility in subbing out during performances and rehearsals.


“Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding:” After an attempt on the part of management to reopen this production as a nonunion show, Local 802 came to an agreement with the producers, the TNT Company. The company had closed “Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding” after a 15-year run on May 18, and requested that the union return its bond, telling 802 that the show would no longer be performed in New York City. However, in September, Local 802 learned that Actors’ Equity was in negotiations for a reopening of the show and was having a difficult time reaching agreement. The union also learned that the producer had hired a completely new band to reopen with, ignoring the musicians who had worked on the show for the past 15 years.

The union filed a grievance, arguing that the former band members had identity of product rights under the agreement that had been in place. The union further contended that the “new” production was the same production with the same employer and therefore the employer was required to negotiate.

802 staff met with both the former band members and the new players who had been hired for the reopening production. The union put together a proposal in which the former music director would accept a buyout settlement (which she wanted) and in which the other two original band members would be hired back as the regular band. The new side musicians would have first-call sub rights and the new music director would assume the regular position as band leader.

On the second day of performances, the employer accepted the union’s proposal and agreed to a new agreement. The agreement is based on the former contract – plus a 3 percent across-the-board increase.

All wage increases for both the former band members and new players will be retroactive back to the first date of hire. Musicians receive $135.48 per performance and the music director earns $152.64. The employer paid the original music director a buyout settlement of six weeks of performance wages and a health benefit contribution for six months’ coverage. The other benefits on the contract remain the same – 4 percent vacation, 9 percent pension and $58 per week for health. Additionally, all of the new musicians joined 802.

“Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding” continues to perform as before at St. Luke’s Church and the Edison Hotel.

For information regarding Off Broadway, Off Off Broadway and developmental theatrical projects, call Senior Theatre Rep Mary Donovan at ext. 156.