Scandia Achieves First Contract

Focus on Orchestras

Volume CV, No. 2February, 2005

Jay Blumenthal

Local 802 has reached a first collective bargaining agreement with the New York Scandia Symphony Orchestra.

One of the most important achievements in this new agreement is the establishment of job security for the 43 musicians on the primary hiring list.

As its name suggests, New York Scandia specializes in the presentation of music by Scandinavian composers. The symphony often presents the U.S. premiere of new Scandinavian works.

The symphony’s home is at Trinity Church.

Since Scandia’s concerts tend to be admission-free and open to the general public, the symphony often qualifies for Music Performance Fund support.

Highlights of the new contract are:

  • A “major venue clause” obligating Scandia to pay full single engagement classical scale for all services when performing in one of our major venues. This is one of the most important clauses in our classical contracts. Any time an orchestra plays in a major hall, the orchestra has to pay full freelance scale, thereby maintaining a level playing field.
  • If Scandia plays an engagement where it is subcontracted or jointly sponsored, again it must pay full freelance scale to musicians. So if Scandia plays a concert sponsored by Scandinavian Airlines, for instance, then Scandia must pay full freelance scale regardless of where the concert is.
  • A maintenance of benefits clause states “musicians shall suffer no loss of compensation or established past practices in effect prior to the signing of this agreement.” This means that any special perks or benefits musicians enjoyed prior to the union contract cannot be taken away.
  • A “minor venue clause” affords Scandia a discounted performance and rehearsal rate for minor venues only. It is understood that future negotiations will attempt to bring this scale up to the full single engagement classical scale.
  • MPF rates for qualified MPF performances only.
  • The ability to do one limited pressing recording per year if the orchestra agrees to become signatory to the AFM Symphonic Limited Pressing Agreement. Scandia must also hold a secret ballot vote of the musicians, who must consent to do the recording.
  • A ban on any use of virtrual orchestra machines.
  • Electronic filing language.

As orchestras mature, welcoming them into the community of freelance orchestras by creating an individual collective bargaining agreement remains a priority of the Concert Department.

We would like to extend this welcome to the New York Scandia Symphony Orchestra and we are pleased to report that this new contract was ratified unanimously.

If you are a freelance musician playing in a nonunion orchestra and would like more information on making your orchestra union, contact my office at (212) 245-4802, ext. 105 or the Organizing Department at ext. 191.