On Sunday, March 4, by a vote of 47 to 12, the New York City Opera Orchestra ratified a new four-year successor agreement covering the period from June 1, 2001, to May 31, 2005. For the third consecutive contract period this was done in an early negotiation involving only the orchestra’s rank-and-file committee and management. No lawyers or Local 802 officials were present.
Terms and conditions include weekly wage increases of 15.7 percent over four years to $1,465 and rehearsal rate increases of 31.6 percent, with the hourly rate going from $37.98 to $50 over the same period. Improvements were also made in seniority pay, dress rehearsal pay and payment for operas requiring 15 or fewer musicians.
In year two of the contract pension contributions will be made on retirement bonuses, and in year four pension will be paid on all W-2 wages. Beginning in the first year the opera will provide individual catastrophic major medical insurance with a lifetime cap of $2,000,000.
In an important addition to the contract in year two, four new Assistant Principal string positions (Violin 2, Viola, Cello and Double Bass) will be created.
The committee consisted of Laura Flax, co-chair; Gail Kruvand; Mike Osrowitz; Stewart Rose and Frank Santonicola, co-chair. Susan Martin, legal counsel to the orchestra, and Local 802 President Bill Moriarity acted as off-site advisors.