Members of the NY City Ballet Orchestra voted on Feb. 20 and 21 to ratify a modification to the union security provision in the Local 802/NY City Ballet Agreement that eliminates the so-called “St. Louis Clause.” This change brought to an end a longstanding dispute between the 802 Executive Board and the orchestra’s rank-and-file committee over this contract provision, and led to the signing of the agreement by President Bill Moriarity on Feb. 26. There had been no signed agreement since 1994.
The union security clause is a contract provision requiring membership in good standing in the union as a condition of employment. In its former language, the NYCB agreement extended that requirement to include members in good standing in the orchestra. That is, a member of the orchestra who had not paid orchestra dues could be subject to dismissal from the job for that non-payment, even though his or her union dues were paid.
Several years ago the Executive Board decided not to enforce that provision and was upheld in that decision by the National Labor Relations Board. The orchestra’s new rank-and-file committee took the position that, since this action had rendered the situation moot, the language change should be made and the contract signed.