Staten Island Symphony Wins New Two-Year Agreement

Volume CII, No. 11November, 2002

Joe Delia

Musicians voted 22-2 to ratify a new two-year agreement with the Staten Island Symphony. The term of the agreement is Sept. 1, 2002, through Aug. 31, 2004.

The negotiating committee secured a significant performance rate increase of over 20 percent over the life of the contract. The performance rate increases immediately from $83 to $90 and then to $100 in the second year. The hourly rehearsal rate increases from $21.20 to $23.33 and $24 in years one and two.

The symphony pays significantly less than scale, so Local 802 has a fair competition clause in the contract which requires payment of scale wages if the orchestra performs in any of the city’s major venues.

Principal pay for winds, brass and percussion players will increase from 10 percent to 12 percent and 15 percent in each year of the agreement. Pension increases half a percentage point to 5.5 percent in the second year.

There were also gains for the librarian, who will now get 125 percent of the Staten Island scale wage (in addition to the playing wage, if the librarian plays in the symphony as well). New language on mileage allows for full reimbursement of any and all tolls for non-Staten Island residents who drive to rehearsals or performances.

New language on substitutes allows principal players to create an ongoing list of subs for their sections, in consultation with the music director, and obligates the contractor to engage all substitutes when given 1four-days’ minimum notice.

New language establishes ongoing informal meetings between the orchestra committee and management (which can be initiated by either side) on “all matters of concern brought forth by either side on a wide range of topics relating to the professionalism and excellence of the orchestra.”

The contract also improves working conditions on a variety of issues that were compiled from an extensive bargaining survey distributed to all musicians.

“We were not sure what we could accomplish in our negotiations, given the post 9/11 economy,” committee member Andy Shreeves told Allegro. “In fact, management’s first request was to extend the old contract and wait a year. Nevertheless, with the local’s help, the committee persevered and won significant gains in all contract areas.”

The union’s negotiating team was comprised of Peggy Wiltrout (chair), Stephen Christen, Carolyn Clark, Kevin Clark, James Corwin, Andrew Shreeves and Raymond Wheeler, and was assisted by 802 Concert Rep Joe Delia.