Negotiations Roundup

Volume CIV, No. 1January, 2004


After many months of negotiation, including several court hearings, the Metropolitan Opera Association and Local 802, representing the regular orchestra, have reached agreement on terms and conditions for foreign tours.

Provisions of this agreement are similar to past tour agreements (which had been negotiated separately for individual tours) except that the weekly salary – $2,000 in 2003-04, $2,060 in 2004-05 and $2149.40 in 2005-06 – is higher than the regular orchestra weekly salary for the same periods (current 2003-04 weekly base salary is $1,718.55), while rehearsals will be paid at time and a half rather than the double time that had become practice for this employment in the past.

The litigation had occurred as a result of the union’s claim that foreign tours were not included in the master agreement and, therefore, needed to be negotiated, and the Met’s counterclaim that the 52-week-a-year contract agreement reached in 2000 for the 2001-06 period covered all work.

The agreement was ratified overwhelmingly by the orchestra. Discussion had gone on so long that orchestra representation included two rank-and-file committees; Sandy Balint was chair of the original committee while David Langlitz is the current chair. They were assisted by Bill Moriarity and legal counsel Mel Schwarzwald.


“American Girls Review.” American Girl Place New York, a new 43,000-square-foot retail and entertainment site on Fifth Avenue, opened on Nov. 7. In addition to being a retail location for “American Girl” brand books, dolls and accessories, the site includes a café and a theatre.

Local 802 negotiated with AWR Music LLC, Arnold Roth producer, for an agreement covering a harpist performing in the café, and four musicians performing in the theatre in a production called, appropriately enough, “American Girls Review.”

The side musician scale for an eight- or nine-performance week is $86 for each 75-minute performance. For 10-12 performances per week, the scale drops to $80 per performance; for 13-15 performances per week, the scale is $76; and for 16-24 performance per week, the scale is $72.

Any day containing only one performance is paid at the rate of 130 percent of the single performance rate. If the production goes into overtime, it is calculated at time-and-a-half per 15-minute segment.

The hourly rehearsal rate is $35 for the rehearsal/audition musicians and $30 for the orchestra, both with a minimum two-hour call.

The music director premium is 50 percent and the associate music director premium is 25 percent. The music director is guaranteed a weekly salary of no less than $1,250; the associate music director weekly guarantee is $675.

Doublers earn 12.5 percent for the first double and 6.25 percent for each additional. The librarian earns a premium of 12.5 percent.

The agreement also covers a harpist who plays during tea time in the café. The harpist earns $70 per hour for a workweek of five hours or less and $65 per hour for a workweek of more than five hours.

The theatrical production musicians are covered for cartage under the terms of the Broadway contract, and the harpist receive $30 or the actual cost of cartage upon receipt.

All musicians under the agreement earn 8 percent vacation, $58 per week or $7.25 per service in health contributions, and pension of 11 percent. In addition the musicians are eligible for a sick performance off for every 96 performances.

Music preparation work is under the terms of the general price list. All musicians have identity with the product.

“Chefs On Broadway.” Local 802 concluded a contract for this reading production, covering two musicians including the music director. The reading took place at the Supper Club, where the future production plans to run. The planned show will be a live “cooking show” backed by a band. For the reading, the music director earns $850 for a five-day, thirty-hour week. Musicians hired by the day are paid $200. Overtime after eight hours in a day is $25 per additional hour or part. Health benefits are capped at $58 per week, and pension is 9 percent. Music preparation is paid according to the Broadway agreement rates.

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