Second Agreement Is Reached With Little Orchestra Society

Freelance Negotiations

Volume CII, No. 2February, 2002

Local 802 and management of the Little Orchestra Society had reached agreement on a new three-year contract as this issue went to press. Orchestra members were to vote on the contract, which includes all the major provisions of the New York Pops agreement, beginning on Jan. 23.

“This agreement was an important step in maintaining the level playing field that currently exists in the freelance field, and that is Local 802’s major priority in these negotiations,” Assistant Director David Lennon told Allegro. “It shows that it can, and will, be achieved.”

The Little Orchestra agreement contains the same economic terms agreed to by the New York Pops (for details, see last month’s Allegro article “New Three-Year Agreement Is First Achieved in Freelance Field“.) On non-economic issues, management accepted all aspects of the Pops agreement that apply to their ensemble:

  • While Little Orchestra already had contract language providing one day of unpaid personal leave, the new agreement raises this to two, with the proviso that the added day may not be taken during the Vivaldi series. It also removes some restrictions previously in place.
  • On the issue of librarian, it was agreed that music prep work, if done by a musician or anyone other than management, must be paid at music prep scales.
  • As in the New York Pops agreement, there are no attendance requirements in the first year. The same provisions governing tours and runouts, working conditions and recording were adopted. The provision in the New York Pops agreement that covers lecture/demos does not apply to this orchestra.

Two issues were left open ended, and will be discussed further immediately after ratification:

  • The parties agreed to enter into discussions regarding hiring practices and the equitable distribution of work. It was clarified that the contrator is responsible for all hiring, inclusive of substitutes.
  • One major concern for Little Orchestra management has involved the ability to videotape educational programs. The parties agreed to discuss the issue further, and to explore avenues now available under the new AFM audiovisual agreement.

Negotiations in the freelance field began last June, but made little progress over the summer. In the aftermath of Sept. 11, the union received requests for a one-year extension from the management of almost every orchestra. The first breakthrough came early in December, when the New York Pops reached agreement. Like the Pops, the Little Orchestra had experienced a strike during negotiations three years ago.

The Little Orchestra agreement was reached on Jan. 11, two days after members of all the freelance committees met to assess the status of negotiations. They expressed a strong commitment to maintaining solidarity among the musicians of all the orchestras.

The ratification vote was to begin on Jan. 23 at the union. The ballot box will remain open for 48 hours.

The negotiating committee included Melanie Bradford (chair), Howard Hall, Susan Jolles, Susan Panny, John Sheppard and Michael Gillette. They were assisted by 802 legal counsel Lenny Leibowitz, Financial Vice-President Tina Hafemeister, Assistant Director Lennon and Concert Rep Joe Delia.