Terms and conditions of a two-year successor agreement between the AFM and the League of American Theatres and Producers, Inc., covering employment on touring theatrical musicals, have been ratified by the affected members by a 150-19 margin. The ratification was conducted by mail ballot and was concluded on Jan. 4.
In an unexpected but positive parallel development, Buena Vista Theatrical Ventures, Inc. (Disney), which had been represented throughout the negotiations by its Senior Vice-President for Labor Relations, John Petrafessa, stated that the company would become party to this agreement.
The principal union initiatives for the negotiations were job security, an increase in per-diem payment and an increase in the employer’s pension contribution. Gains were made in all three areas.
Job security was strengthened, with a new provision that mandates next engagement recall rights for Pamphlet B musicians laid off when local musicians are utilized in any venue. Currently musicians are discharged in these situations and frequently not rehired.
The weekly per-diem payments increase in three steps from the present $637.59 to $700 by the end of the contract, while pension improves from the current 7.5 percent to 10 percent over the two-year period. The parties also agreed that the 10 percent pension contribution would remain in place through the next succeeding contract period.
In addition to these changes and several other minor modifications the wages were increased by 2 percent in the first year, retroactive to April 1, 1999, and 2.5 percent in the second year.
The union succeeded in fighting off management proposals for no-strike language that would have prohibited traveling musicians from honoring local picket lines. Instead, a consultation process involving the AFM President combined with a mandatory 72-hour cooling off period was agreed to, in instances of local labor disputes.
The League also proposed drastic reductions in local minimums when Pamphlet B shows are performing. With the exception that a producer will now be able to request special consideration from the AFM President’s office for highly specialized unique instrumentalists (e.g. African percussionists, Asian flutists, etc.) to be declared a self-contained sub-unit, the AFM also turned back this proposal.
The AFM negotiating committee consisted of President Steve Young, Vice-President (Canada) David Jandrisch, Secretary-Treasurer Tom Lee, Director of Touring, Traveling and Booking Mark Heter, Legal Counsel George Cohen and rank-and-file musicians Erich Peterson of Local 10-208 (Chicago) and Steve Machamer of Local 802. Assisting the committee were Local 10-208 President and International Executive Officer Ed Ward, TMA President Art Linsner and, from Local 802, President Bill Moriarity and Executive Board member Maura Giannini.