Negotiations Roundup

Volume CVI, No. 5May, 2006

Stamford Symphony. Stamford musicians overwhelmingly ratified a new collective bargaining agreement as they continue with their 2005-2006 season in Stamford, Connecticut. For all self-produced events, Stamford will pay the terms and conditions of 802’s Single Engagement Classical Wage Scales. Events that are not self-produced will pay 75 percent of scale.

In the new contract, seven new categories have been added to cover various types of small ensemble performances, each with its own scale. The new contract also includes a new artistic dismissal policy. If the music director wants to remove a musician for artistic reasons, that musician will have an opportunity to appeal to a peer review committee.

The new contract covers the period Sept. 1, 2004 through Aug. 31, 2007. Negotiations had been delayed for half a season due to a dispute regarding hiring order. Ultimately, the two sides agreed to follow the hiring order implied in the roster of the previous collective bargaining agreement.

The negotiating committee was made up of Eliot Bailen, Don Batchelder, Jeff Lang, Rebecca Osborn, Sebu Sirinian and Robert Zubrycki. Concert Rep Jacob Heyman-Kantor, Financial Vice President Jay Blumenthal and 802 Counsel Len Leibowitz also participated in the negotiations.

“St. Matthew Passion.” A new agreement has been reached for this production at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Wages, premiums, benefits and working conditions shall follow the Freelance Opera and Ballet Wage Scales with the following exceptions: Principal Violin I of Orchestra I and Principal Violin I of Orchestra II shall each receive a 50 percent premium. Instead of the additional payment for on-stage musicians ($63.50), musicians who are required to perform in any manner not usually required in a live concert performance of “St. Matthew Passion” – including (but not limited to) playing from memory, standing, acting or dancing – shall be paid an additional 25 percent of their total contractual wage for the engagement, including doubling, overtime and premium pay (if applicable). The final rehearsal shall be paid as a dress rehearsal (performance rate).


New agreements have been reached with both the Sacred Music Society of Our Lady of Martyrs Church and the Oratorio Society of Queens. Both contracts are two-year agreements retroactive from Jan. 1, 2006 to Dec. 31, 2007.

Performances, which paid $121.54 in the former contract, now pay $128 in the first year of the new contract and $134 in the second.

Rehearsals, which paid $36.44 per hour in the former contract, now pay $38.50 in the first year and $40.50 in the second.

Pension, which was 6.5 percent, rises to 7.5 percent in the new contract.

Health, which used to pay $5 per set (one rehearsal, one concert), now pays $7.50 per set.

The employer has agreed to use only live musicians and shall not use a virtual orchestra machine or “any other mechanical, synthetic or technological device.”

The employer has also agreed to negotiate separately concerning the additional compensation, terms and conditions for run-outs and tours upon the planning of the first run-out or tour and in so doing shall be guided by past practices in the local industry.

–Jay Blumenthal