Negotiations Roundup

Volume CV, No. 12December, 2005

Billy Taylor Productions. Local 802 has concluded a contract with Billy Taylor Productions covering musicians performing with the legendary jazz pianist Billy Taylor. The agreement outlines the minimum wages to be paid for various types of engagements including concert performances, clinics and clubs. The contract provides for pension contributions to be paid at 10 percent.

New York City Gay Men’s Chorus. A three-year agreement has been reached between Big Apple Performing Arts, Inc. (New York City Gay Men’s Chorus) and Local 802. The agreement is retroactive to June 1, 2005. The employer will pay full freelance scale for wages, pension, health contributions and cartage. In addition, a first-call primary hiring list has now been established covering 43 musicians. As this hiring list covers more musicians than would typically be used by the chorus, the contract contains an “equitable distribution of work” clause. This provision allows for the available work to be distributed equitably among the members of the orchestra. Finally, the employer has agreed not to use a virtual orchestra machine.

New York Collegium. Local 802 negotiated a one-year contract with the New York Collegium, lasting from Sept. 1, 2005 until Aug. 31, 2006. Collegium agreed to continue to pay full freelance scale. The contract also requires the employer to schedule services at least four weeks in advance. If the employer cancels services with less than four weeks’ notice, it will still pay musicians for the work. This is significantly better than the terms of our single engagement classical scale, which only requires seven days’ notice.

Sospeso Ensemble. Sospeso signed its first collective bargaining agreement with Local 802 on Oct. 17, after avoiding the union for six months. This spring, Sospeso first ignored and then refused to negotiate with Local 802 until hours before a May 10 performance at Carnegie Hall. However, after it signed a recognition agreement, Sospeso proceeded to again ignore all communication from Local 802. Only after a threat of filing an unfair labor practice charge with the New York State Employment Relations Board did Sospeso agree to negotiate with the union. Sospeso, unfortunately, soon returned to its old ways: the company would call the union to cancel before each scheduled negotiation date. Finally, under another threat of another ULP charge, Sospeso agreed to all of the union’s initial proposals. The agreement requires Sospeso to abide by 802’s single engagement classical wage scale at major venues and to negotiate with the union before performing elsewhere. The agreement also includes a virtual orchestra machine ban. The term of the agreement lasts from Nov. 1, 2005 through Sept. 30, 2008. Sospeso musicians who have any questions regarding this agreement or future negotiations should contact Concert Representative Jacob Heyman-Kantor at (212) 245-4802, ext. 174.