Negotiations with the Merrick Symphony have concluded, resulting in across-the-board increases in wages and benefits. While this is an orchestra with a very limited budget that only performs occasionally, it is the goal of the Concert Department to bring each orchestra closer to the prevailing single engagement wages and benefits. While this orchestra has yet to reach that level, good progress was made.
SACRED MUSIC SOCIETY
Local 802 reached a new agreement with the Sacred Music Society of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church. This agreement is patterned after the agreement for the Oratorio Society of Queens with one important addition. The Sacred Music Society agreement includes a primary hiring list which gives first-call rights to 47 musicians.
SEVEN STRINGS LIMITED
Local 802 and Seven Strings Limited (John Pizzarelli) have reached agreement on a two-year contract covering both single performances and touring work by the popular guitarist and the musicians he performs with. The agreement includes a guarantee of health benefit coverage for the core musicians named in the contract as well as contributions for other musicians who may be utilized on a less regular basis. Pension contributions are set at 15 percent of scale wages.
On May 25, Local 802 was successful in winning a contract for 34 musicians hired from the Trenton and Philadelphia areas to perform with Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville at the Westbury Music Fair and with Jimmy Webb at the Beacon Theatre.
Ronstadt’s national tour is using the Baltimore Symphony, which has a touring provision in its collective bargaining agreement, but there are several dates that the symphony could not perform.
Princeton Entertainment, the tour promoter and employer, hired a New Jersey contractor to engage 34 musicians for the New York leg of the tour. The musicians were told they would earn about $900 for five shows and one rehearsal — well below Local 802 scale and far below the Baltimore Symphony scale.
Acting on information provided by Frank Herrera, secretary of Local 62 (Trenton), Local 802 began calling the musicians. When the 34 musicians arrived in town, 802 Club Date Department Supervisor Jim Hannen boarded the tour bus along with Gene Tornour, the AFM’s organizing director. They informed the musicians there was still no contract.
For more than an hour, Hannen and Tornour went back and forth with Princeton Entertainment officials and the AFM’s Michael Manley to reach an agreement. It wasn’t until Princeton management was told that at 3 p.m. musicians would be told to board the bus and return home, that serious negotiations began to take place. Earlier in the day Local 802’s Executive Board authorized strike benefits up to $300. At 2:50 p.m. an agreement was reached and the rehearsal began at 3 p.m.
In the final deal, musicians were to be paid $1,300 for the six services, plus a 10 percent pension contribution and per diem pay.
On June 29, Stanton Davis of the AFM’s Touring and Booking Division reported that all correct wages, benefits and work dues had been paid by the employer.
A very cooperative Westbury management, along with Bob Gulluscio and Senior Business Rep Richard Schilio, also played key roles in winning the day.