Two recent victories at Local 802

Recording Vice President's report

Volume 123, No. 4April, 2023

Harvey Mars

In this month’s report, I would like to report on two recent victories achieved by Local 802 during the month of March.

First, I am extremely happy to report that Local 802 has successfully completed negotiations with club date employers and has achieved a memorandum of agreement that contains substantial wage increases and increases to mileage and transportation reimbursement rates. The agreement runs from April 15, 2023 through April 15, 2026 and contains wage increase that average over 4.5 percent for each of its three years. These are some of the largest wage increases that the club date bargaining unit has seen in over a decade, if not longer.

Furthermore, we were able to achieve substantial increases in automobile mileage, transportation and air travel rates. Since most of these reimbursement rates have not increased since the late 1990’s, it was a priority for the bargaining team to increase them. Mileage and transportation rates have almost doubled and in some cases tripled. A highly favorable lump sum air travel rate, which is meant to compensate musicians for time spent traveling by air, has been negotiated that will benefit musicians far greater than the cumbersome piecemeal rates in the expired agreement. Additionally, we have achieved a 50 percent reimbursement payment for all musicians in the event that congestion pricing is adopted by New York City. The prior agreement only permitted a 50 percent reimbursement if the musician is entitled to receive a cartage payment. We insisted on the elimination of the cartage requirement to qualify for the payment. Finally, we have eliminated the discounted heath contribution rate and employers have agreed to pay a uniform per service rate. This will enhance the solvency of the health fund.

Bargaining unit member Ken Rizzo upon reviewing the terms of the memorandum of agreement offered these comments on the new agreement: “The most notable and welcome aspects of the agreement relate to out-of-town work. The negotiating team was able to achieve both simplification of and increased payments for air mileage and for travel to airports, we will now be able to be reimbursed up to $80. Travel over 150 miles on any day, you’ll be paid Saturday night scale. All this adds up to being treated as the professionals and human beings that we are. I was concerned about the impending and ill-conceived congestion pricing scheme that will affect my brother and sister musicians who must travel into the city from out of town. There is some relief for this in the contract as well should congestion pricing become the unfortunate law — a law that regressively impacts upon struggling workers in virtually every field.”

The new memorandum agreement has been approved by the Local 802 Executive Board and is scheduled for a ratification vote on April 4. We anticipate that the agreement will be ratified by the bargaining unit. Many thanks to Local 802 Principal Business Rep Pete Voccola, whose efforts were instrumental in achieving this agreement.


The second victory involves an unfair labor practice charge that Local 802 had filed against DCINY. In late March, Region 2 of the National Labor Relations Board compelled DCINY to enter into a settlement agreement in which it acknowledges that it had violated the National Labor Relations Act by directly negotiating with musicians rather than their certified bargaining representative, Local 802. As part of the settlement, DCINY has to publicly post and mail its employees a notice admitting that it had violated the law and acknowledging that it will not bypass the union and deal directly with bargaining unit members regarding changes that it would like to make to musicians wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment. A copy of this notice can be retrieved here. This is the second substantiated unfair labor practice committed by DCINY and second time they have to post a notice admitting that they had violated the law.

Local 802 has been on strike against DCINY for over a month and has been engaged in public demonstrations and picketing whenever and wherever DCINY is performing. Our last demonstration was held on March 26 and took place right in front of David Geffen Hall’s stage door, an unprecedented event for Local 802. Our giant inflatable rat  towered over the entrance while bargaining unit members chanted and distributed flyers.

The musicians of DCINY plus Local 802 officers, staff and supporters picketed DCINY’s performance on March 26