A season of negotiations is in full swing

President's report

Volume 123, No. 10November, 2023

Sara Cutler

Musicians of the NYC Ballet Orchestra are fighting for a fair contract

The president’s office is in the midst of five negotiations as of this writing. By far the most difficult is the NYCB negotiation. Their contract expired the end of August and their orchestra has been playing and talking since. Many of you have attended their rallies at Lincoln Center to show support and Local 802 and the members of the Ballet Orchestra thank you sincerely. While we feel the pressure campaign mounted by the Orchestra Committee and the union has produced results and been successful in many ways (such as in raising the orchestra’s public profile and in garnering support for the orchestra from its audiences), it has not succeeded in moving management to a more reasonable position.

Other negotiations in progress are proving almost as difficult. We are bargaining two brand new agreements: with the new Perelman Arts Center downtown and with a newly organized bargaining unit at the Met. As first time agreements, they must be bargained from the first word to the last and are therefore taking a surprising amount of time.

Speaking of first-time agreements, you may have seen on our social media channels or heard at the membership meeting that Local 802 has finally won a contract for DCINY musicians. It was four years in the making, with dozens of detours along the way. But, thanks to the perseverance of the DCINY orchestra, their negotiating committee, and our own Recording Vice President Harvey Mars, a deal was made. Read the details in this issue of Allegro.

The fall season is in full swing and many issues are arising in UN-surprising places. We have yet another Special Situation request for a new show opening at the Imperial in February called “Water for Elephants” and are in the process of assembling a panel of our own experts to judge the producers’ claims and assertions at our first meeting, scheduled for Nov. 8. And, unfortunately, adding to the list of members hurt in and around Broadway theatres, one of our members was struck in the face in mid-October by a skateboard launched from the stage at “Back to the Future.” This is launching a serious discussion with the producers and ultimately the League about health and safety on Broadway.

The plans for the building renovation are continuing on a fast track. Some projects, like building a stair access to the roof, are expected to begin quite soon. Others may be pushed further back into the new year. We have tentative final floor plan designs that we shared with attendees at the Oct. 18 membership meeting. I say tentative because we cannot sign off on them until we have dollar amounts on what the entire project will cost to finance. At that point, we may have to peel back some of the things on our wish list.

It’s the fall open enrollment period for Medicare, and Local 802 is pleased to host Cecelia Hobbs Gardner, a longtime Local 802 member and a licensed life and health insurance agent, who will be providing free consultation and enrollment services. Cecelia will be situated in the third floor conference room at Local 802 from 11am to 3pm on Thursday, Nov. 9; Wednesday, Nov. 15; and Wednesday, Nov. 22. To schedule an appointment, please contact Cecelia at 551-501-8991 or complete an appointment form at