New York City Opera Ratifies Sideletter

Volume CVIII, No. 7/8July, 2008

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George Manahan conducts the New York City Opera Orchestra during a workshop performance of “VOX: Showcasing American Performers. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

By a margin of 54 to 1, the New York City Opera Orchestra has ratified a sideletter modifying the collective bargaining agreement for the 2008-2009 season. Due to the extraordinary circumstances presented by the renovation of the New York State Theatre, the committee sat down with management to decide upon non-precedential provisions for the period the company will be out of the theatre.

The sideletter calls for 11 guaranteed weeks to be paid for fall 2008, beginning no later than Sept. 12, 2008. Two work weeks will be paid in January 2009 and the remaining weeks will be paid beginning March 6, 2009. No more than two weeks will be paid in July 2009.

The NYCO retains the right to designate the guaranteed weeks as any of the following: rehearsal, media, performance, tour, concert, or “etc.” Musicians agreed to work on recordings for Symphonic Limited Pressing rates in “media” weeks.

At the ratification, the musicians were given a list of mutually-agreed venues; any other venues must have the approval of the orchestra.

Since there will be run-outs outside of Manhattan during this season, the committee negotiated conditions which included:

  1. Round trip transportation from the State Theatre.
  2. Hot meals between services on two service days.
  3. Changing facilities.
  4. Parking.
  5. Beverages. 
  6. A $20 meal payment if a bus leaves more than 2.5 hours before call time.

For any weeks that use less than the full complement of musicians, work will be allocated among the orchestra members on an equitable basis by a rotation system.

The orchestra was represented by Local 802 counsel Harvey Mars, Orchestra Committee Chair Gail Kruvand-Moye, Bart Feller, Sophia Kessinger, Mark Shuman and Mike Osrowitz.