Negotiations Roundup

Volume CII, No. 6June, 2002


Local 802 has reached a new three-year collective bargaining agreement with Delaware North Parks Services (DNPS), the company that employs musicians working at the Jones Beach band shell and restaurant on the boardwalk.

In meetings held prior to negotiations, the musicians working at Jones Beach outlined their concerns. First was the need for a cancellation clause which ensured that musicians would be paid for all work. In the past, musicians working at the restaurant or working week nights at the band shell could be cancelled, without pay, for inclement weather. Their second priority was an increase in pension, and third was maintaining required minimums. (Under the previous agreement, DNPS had to employ five musicians per performance.)

The new agreement requires all musicians to be paid for any cancellations whatsoever. There is an immediate increase of 2 percent in pension, and an additional one percent in each of the remaining two years of this agreement. And although DNPS fought hard to reduce minimums, Local 802 was able to maintain them through a weekly formula that is equal to a minimum of five musicians per night. The new agreement also includes wage increases of 3 percent in the first year, 3 percent the second year, and 3½ percent in the final year.

The agreement was negotiated by Senior Business Rep Peter Voccola, who credits the musicians’ active participation with enabling the union to achieve all their goals in this three-year agreement.


The Manhattan Opera Repertory Ensemble (MORE), a new ensemble, has signed a recognition agreement with Local 802 and agreed to enter into collective bargaining no later than June 1. MORE was founded by Cheryl Warfield, an opera singer, and presented its first production, Verdi’s Ernani, at Symphony Space on April 26.

Warfield had approached Local 802 when she began planning the production, but said she could not afford to pay single engagement scale. The union has, in the past, been willing to exercise a certain amount of flexibility when it comes to new employers who are trying to file an engagement but have a limited starting budget, in exchange for important terms such as recognition, benefits and an agreement to enter into collective bargaining for all future work. However, 802 felt that the rates she was proposing were far too low, and that musicians would not be willing to play for that level of compensation, which subsequently proved to be the case.

MORE ceased negotiating with the union and 802 later learned that Warfield had circulated a newsletter seeking nonunion musicians, a violation of federal labor law. The union filed charges at the National Labor Relations Board and prepared to leaflet the April 26 concert. However, Warfield entered into an agreement on the day of the concert, recognizing Local 802 and making modest benefit payments to approximately 40 musicians. In exchange, the union dropped the unfair labor practice charges and did not leaflet the event.

“This situation highlighted one of our longstanding concerns: that employers seem to treat engagements at Symphony Space differently from their presentations at other halls in New York,” said Assistant Director David Lennon. “Employers need to understand that Local 802 considers Symphony Space to be a major venue, and that engagements there must be filed properly and musicians provided with the health and pension benefits they deserve.”


On May 15 Manhattan Concert Productions, represented by its president, Craig Arnold, signed a recognition agreement with Local 802. The union had learned about a planned engagement at Carnegie Hall, and organizers contacted Arnold prior to the performance. He agreed to recognize Local 802 and begin negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement by May 1. The Organizing and Concert departments worked jointly on this campaign.