Negotiations Roundup

Volume CIII, No. 3March, 2003


A new collective bargaining agreement has been reached between 802 and Music Outreach, Learning Through Music, Inc. Music Outreach currently has 23 musicians on its regular and substitute roster. The musicians perform as duos and trios for schoolchildren, involving students in the music-making experience with small rhythm instruments and other interactive methods. The one-year agreement increases the number of permitted substitution days from six to seven, and requires that services in separate locations be paid as individual services, even if they occur within the three-hour frame specified in the Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) wage scales. Wages, pension and health benefits increase in accordance with MPTF scales. A sideletter to the agreement sets guidelines for a jazz ensemble project the employer plans to test in schools this year. The sideletter obligates the employer to pay MPTF scale wages and benefits to musicians employed for that project, and requires the employer to bargain over other terms and conditions of employment in the jazz ensemble if it is continued next year.

The executive board approved the contract on Dec. 30. A ratification vote was conducted by mail. The ballots were counted on Jan. 13, and the agreement was approved by a majority vote of Music Outreach musicians.


The New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players (NYGASP) overwhelmingly approved a new contract that covers all work from Sept. 1, 2002 through Aug. 31, 2005. The agreement contains wage increases of 3.1 percent in the first year, 4 percent in the second and 5 percent in the third for the company’s per-performance rate for a New York run. Each other wage category in the agreement (children’s performances, tours, runouts, etc.) increased between 3 and 4 percent.

Pension increases to 10 percent from 9 percent in the third year of the agreement. Health benefits, which were previously only paid for performances, are now paid per service. While the health contribution is still far below freelance scale, significant gains were made from the previous rate of three dollars per performance – the new rate is $10 per service in the third year of the agreement. The contract also improves working conditions on a variety of issues that were compiled from an extensive bargaining survey distributed to all musicians.

The central sticking point at the negotiations was 802’s “fair competition clause” which requires an employer to pay full freelance scale when performing in a major venue, such as City Center. Although the union already won the fair competition clause in the prior agreement, NYGASP didn’t feel its effects until it started performing in such venues towards the end of the last contract.

Last year, when NYGASP performed at City Center, the union allowed management to pay the previous year’s freelance rate for that particular engagement.

This time around, both parties agreed that the fair competition clause will take full effect in the third year of the new contract. In the first year, if the employer plays a major venue like City Center, it will pay freelance scale from 2000; in the second year, the employer will pay freelance scale from 2002.

The negotiating team included Steve Shulman (chair), Bob Lawrence, Michael Osrowitz, Nancy Ranger and Deb Spohnheimer. They were assisted by Assistant Director David Lennon, Concert Rep Joe Delia and 802 legal counsel Lenny Leibowitz.


York Theatre: Local 802 negotiated an agreement with the 146-seat York Theatre at St. Peter’s Church for a three-year contract covering regular, fully-staged, eight-performance productions. The agreement also covers the York’s “Musicals in Mufti” series – six concert readings of underappreciated Broadway musicals from the past. The minimum side musician scale is $460 in the first year of the contract, $470 in the second and $480 in the third. The minimums include one double; additional doubles pay 6¼ percent. But in the third year, the first double will pay on top of the minimum scale, representing almost a 15 percent increase for doubling musicians. New to the agreement is the synthesizer premium, which pays 12½ percent. Pension increased to 8 percent from 7 percent. Health contributions increased to $58 from $50. Also new to the agreement is cartage as well as acknowledgement of the orchestra and the union in printed programs. Musicians have identity with the product for three years following the end of each production.

Helen Hayes (Nyack, N.Y.): Local 802 negotiated a one-year extension to the current agreement with the Helen Hayes (Nyack). Following the first full week of performances, musicians will earn $15 per hour for rehearsals with a 50 percent premium for the music director. Both have a minimum two-hour call. Health benefits increased to $58 from $50. Musicians will be compensated equally with other staff in the production for expenses such as food and travel. The minimum wage for side musicians is $489.16, and $652.21 for the music director. Doubling pays 12½ for the first and 6¼ for each additional. The premium for synthesizer performers is 25 percent. Pension pays 8 percent.

Classic Stage Company: The union won a first contract with the Classic Stage Company. The fourteen-month agreement provides musicians with a minimum scale of $420 for a seven-performance week and a 36-hour rehearsal week. The premium for music director/conductor is 50 percent; the associate director’s premium is 15 percent for rehearsals and performances. Orchestra rehearsals after the first week of public performance pay $20 per hour with a minimum two-hour call. Vacation as of the ninth week of performance pays 6 percent of gross wages. Health contributions are $58 per week and pension is 8 percent. In the event that a production extends at the theatre the musicians receive a 25 percent wage increase. Music preparation wages are 80 percent of the Broadway rate except that health benefits are $16.50 per day for a maximum of $400 per music preparation musician. Musicians have identity of product rights for three years following the end of a production

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