The Musicians’ Voice

Volume CVII, No. 11November, 2007

The Musicians’ Voice is an open forum for discussion about the state of union affairs. The letters published here do not necessarily express the views of Local 802. Letters must be 300 words or less. Send them to Allegro, c/o Local 802, 322 West 48th Street, New York, NY 10036, or e-mail Mikael Elsila, the editor, at


To the Editor:

At the beginning of September, I looked closely at the Broadway orchestra lists on the 802 Web site. I was shocked to see that just 15 percent with regular positions are women.

All of the contractors listed were men — not surprising to any Broadway musician — as are most of the conductors. How much of an effort are they making to find more women for these jobs?

Most of the in-house contractors and associate conductors are also men. Do more women not want these top positions? Of course they do. The real question is why are more women not considered and appointed to these positions in the vast majority of cases?

The March 2007 issue of Allegro listed the numbers of women and men who worked under different types of union contracts. The total membership of our local at that time was 22 percent women. (Although if you count just the actual working membership, this might be higher.) Of those working on Broadway either as regulars or subs, 25 percent were women, although it is hard to know how often they actually worked. Other percentages of women working were: 21 percent for club dates; 39 percent for steady classical engagements; 43 percent for freelance classical; and 21 percent for recording.

In this country, women hold nearly a quarter of state-wide elected offices. Women start new businesses at three times the rate of men, and control 70 percent of the buying decisions (either directly or indirectly). Even Congress has more women at 16 percent (another unacceptable number).

The Broadway community would present a better face to the public at large if it could move into the 21st century and at least try to get closer to some of the numbers above.

–Kathy Canfield Shepard

(This letter was originally a longer essay, which Allegro may publish in the future. In the meantime, musicians who are interested may e-mail Canfield for a copy of the longer essay, at


To the Editor:

Recently, I’ve realized that some Local 802 members may not really know what’s meant by “union scale.”

When it comes to wages, scale is simply a minimum that is negotiated — or set — periodically by the union. Scale differs depending on what field you play in (Broadway, recording, music prep, club dates, etc.)

But scale is more than just wages. Scale includes pension and health payments.

Depending on the job, scale may include additional payments such as doubling, parking, per diem or cartage.

Remember, scale is a minimum. Many longtime union members demand overscale — and rightly so.

Please don’t call me for a gig and tell me that a job pays “scale” when you are not paying benefits. A job does not pay scale if it doesn’t include health and pension. That can add up to more than $100. (Of course, to be a proper “scale” gig, it must also be filed with Local 802.)

If you are a bandleader and you do the right thing and pay scale to your musicians, you’ll soon notice that benefits add up. Do what other companies do: pass the expenses on to your client by adding them into your total price. In other words, when you budget for a gig, don’t undercut yourself. Make sure that union scale and benefits are all included in your costs. (And file your gig with the union!)

Finally, here’s one more tip for bandleaders: don’t forget that you can make pension contributions for yourself on a gig! Even if you are not incorporated, you can use something called the LS-1 form. Local 802’s Club Date Department has all the details.

Any musician who wants to talk to me about this can e-mail me at

–Sue Terry


To the Editor:

There has been much discussion among musicians regarding the use of the limited pressing agreement for cast albums, and President Landolfi is to be commended for appointing a committee to respond to their concerns. (See “Looking Into Off Broadway Recordings,” in the September issue of Allegro.)

The limited pressing agreement specifically prohibits its use for “original cast albums.” The article explains that producers have circumvented this prohibition by not advertising their projects as “cast albums.”

Unfortunately, this has not been the case.

Producers routinely advertise these recordings as cast albums in retail outlets and theatre lobbies alike.

If you Google the phrase “110 in the Shade Broadway Cast Album,” you will see numerous examples. Ditto for “High Fidelity.” Both Broadway shows were recorded under the limited pressing agreement.

For the record, the article is incorrect on two more points.

All — not some — of the music from “High Fidelity” was recorded for its cast album.

Also, it was recorded in January 2007, not in 2006 — well past the Lennon administration.

Placing blame on any era’s officers is, of course, missing the point.

What is important is that many musicians — hoping to eliminate illegal use of the limited pressing agreement (and its pathetic payscale) — applaud this administration’s apparent willingness to attend to the voice of its constituents.

–Bud Burridge

LOCAL 802 REPLIES: The recording in question took place on Jan. 13, 2007, but all related discussions between the union and the employer took place well before the change in administration.