Quick Notes

Volume CIX, No. 11November, 2009


The New York Times recently reported that New York City high schools with the highest graduation rates also offered students the most arts education.

Among other findings, schools in the top third typically hired 40 percent more certified arts teachers.

Schools that scored higher were also more likely to offer students a chance to attend arts performances.

The full report is at


At the Oct. 20 membership meeting, members rejected a bylaw proposal that would have allowed union staff members to simultaneously hold a job as elected officer.

Separately, members voted for a proposal that increases the amount of money that the Executive Board is permitted to donate to an outside organization to $500 per year from $250.


Astute readers will notice that there are no letters to the editor printed in this issue of Allegro. Before going to press, we consulted with outside counsel about how to handle letters in this issue, which is our election issue. The advice was this: to be fair to all, we should suspend the letters page this month. The problem, we were told, is that the letters page, unless it were completely balanced, could be seen as campaigning using union funds. Our goal is to be prudent without censoring our members. Therefore, all letters that came in for the November issue will be published in the December issue instead.


Are you facing eviction or a big medical bill that threatens to bankrupt you? Local 802’s Emergency Relief Fund (through the Musicians’ Assistance Program) may be able to help. The fund give limited grants to musicians in need.

To apply, contact the union’s social worker Cindy Green at or (212) 245-4802, ext. 180.

Cindy can also help you apply for other financial help from sources like the Actors’ Fund and other relief organizations.

Thanks to everyone who donated to the Emergency Relief Fund during our recent appeal. If you are in a position to help us, please contact the Recording Vice President at (212) 245-4802, ext. 110.


There were two errors in replies to letters last month.

  • The last date of negotiations for the Broadway media agreement was actually April 3, not March 31.
  • The decision to buy an ad in the Radio City Playbill was indeed passed unanimously by the Executive Board – except that Mark Johansen was not present to vote. He did, however, support the purchase of the ad.


Once again, musicians performing this year at the MTV Music Awards Show and the VH1 Divas! Show were both covered under AFM agreements, providing wages, re-use, pension and health.

Agreements, as in the past, were negotiated jointly by both the AFM and Local 802.

The message to musicians is clear. If you are doing a show for either MTV or VH1, call the union. We have the experience of getting the work covered.


In other recording news, Local 802 recently won a grievance involving several recording sessions for Def Jam artist Ghostface.

Four musicians were hired to play on tracks for Ghostface’s new album, which was released in September.

These musicians played in numerous late-night sessions over the course of a few months in 2008 and 2009.

Musicians were not paid for their services until Local 802 stepped in.

Local 802 was successful in collecting over $12,000 in wages and benefits for these musicians.


Local 802 has set new opera and ballet scales. Traditionally, the union’s scales are tied to the terms of its agreement with the American Ballet Theatre.

Recently, the union amended its agreement with the ABT, and on Sept. 8, the Executive Board agreed to make these terms the new opera and ballet scales.

Members who wish to view the scales can find them in the Wage & Contract Info secion of this site.


Several bandleaders renewed their contracts with Local 802 in recent months, including Wycliffe Gordon, Howard Leshaw, Michael Davis and Michael Leonhart.

If you are a bandleader, call us and ask us about signing a union agreement with Local 802. Do the right thing and pay your musicians benefits – and also contribute into your own benefit plan as well! For all the details, contact Todd Weeks at (212) 245-4802, ext. 185 or


Local 802 offers a free hearing test to all musicians on Tuesday, Nov. 17. To make a reservation, call Tara Donach at (212) 245-4802, ext. 101.