Negotiations Roundup

Volume CV, No. 9September, 2005

Early Ear Ratifies Contract

Teachers and pianists at the Early Ear ratified a new seven-year contract on Aug. 4. The unanimous vote culminated nearly a year of negotiations for a second contract at the Early Ear, which has three studios in Manhattan. The teachers and accompanists successfully fought off a decertification attempt in the summer of 2004 and used their newfound solidarity to negotiate a strong second contract. Among the highlights of the agreement are significant increases in health contributions, 3 percent annual wage increases and a 1 percent increase in pension.

Sospeso Ensemble. The ensemble has signed a recognition agreement with Local 802 and agreed to bargain for a contract. Sospeso is a modern chamber music group that plays a few times a year, and almost all Sospeso musicians have freelance careers. Hence, like most musicians, they depend on health and pension contributions from every gig. Sospeso had made pension contributions on behalf of its musicians when it filed a contract in 2001. The employer never filed a contract with 802 again, yet continued to present in major halls like Carnegie, where it is especially important that we maintain the professional contract standards that musicians in this city have fought for years to create. After a threat of both a protest and a strike, Sospeso agreed to sign a recognition agreement with Local 802 immediately prior to the ensemble’s May 10 performance at Carnegie Hall. They did so only hours before the performance was to start. According to the agreement, negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement must commence by June 9.

Unless otherwise noted, the following theatres and productions include 9 percent pension. Health benefits are $7.25 per call and capped at $58 per week per musician. Sick leave is one paid performance off for every 48 worked. Dress rehearsals are paid at performance rate. A one-hour call just prior to a performance or after pays $33. The premium for conductor/music director is 50 percent. Doubling pays 12.5 percent for the first double and 6.25 percent for additional instruments. The synthesizer premium is 25 percent. Overtime pays time-and-a-half. Musicians have identity with the product. There is a ban on the use of virtual orchestra machines for theatres and full productions.

The Color Purple. This production was negotiated with Nina Lannen Associates as a four-week pre-Broadway workshop. The side musician scale is $1,035 for a 40-hour, six-day week and $40 per hour, with a minimum two-hour call. Vacation is 6 percent. Music preparation is paid at Broadway scale.

Helen of Troy. This two-week reading was negotiated with Infuse Media (Russell Lewis, producer) covering five musicians. The rehearsals took place at Montana Studios and the performance was at the Canal Room at Broadway and Canal. The side musician scale was $20 per hour with a minimum two-hour call, and $75 per performance for two or more performances.

Love/Life: A Life in Song. This production performing at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre was negotiated with Lincoln Center. The side musician scale is $250 per performance. Second performances on Sunday pay time-and-one-half as do performances beyond eight in a week. Rehearsals pay $47 per hour with minimum two-hour call. The conductor premium is 100 percent. Vacation pays 6 percent and cartage is $20 per round trip. Pension is 10 percent. Music preparation is paid at Broadway scale. Five musicians were engaged for the production.

National Black Theatre. This second agreement with the theatre covers two years. Side musician scale was increased to 3 percent each year for performances and for rehearsal/auditions. The current rates are $77.25 per performance in the first year and $79.57 in the second. The weekly rehearsal scale is $680 for a 40-hour, six-day rate and $25 per hour, with a minimum two-hour call. The side musicians are guaranteed 20 hours of rehearsals at $200 and $20 per hour, with a minimum two-hour call thereafter. Pension is 6 percent. Musicians receive 4 percent as vacation as of the tenth week of performance. At the time of the negotiations, the theatre was producing “Dorothy Dandridge Before, After and Now.” Three musicians were engaged for the production.

A Tale of Two Cities. This four-week workshop was negotiated with Russell Sharpe Theatrical Productions, Inc. (Don Frantz, general manager). The scales and work rules are the same as “The Color Purple” (above).

American Songbook. A new three-year agreement has been reached with Lincoln Center covering musicians and music preparation personnel employed in Lincoln Center’s “American Songbook” series. The agreement requires that the performing musicians be paid according to the terms of 802’s club date contract. The current side musician scale under that agreement for major venues is $280 per performance plus pension and health benefits. For music preparation personnel the agreement continues to pay 90 percent of the General Price List rates for single-stave, single line notation, orchestration and arranging. However, effective May 1, 2006 this goes to 95 percent and effective May 1, 2007 to 100 percent of the General Price List.