President’s Report

Two Initiatives

Volume CVI, No. 6June, 2006

David Lennon


As announced in my column last month, the Broadway Community Initiative is a series of seminars that will help all theatre musicians become more familiar with the terms and conditions of the contract under which they work. At the same time these sessions will enable musicians to more fully understand the collective bargaining process so that they may be better able to stay abreast during the upcoming Broadway negotiations.

There are four planned programs and they are open to all Local 802 Broadway theatre musicians.

Elements of Program I, Session 1 (“Collective Bargaining: Preparation, Techniques, and Procedures”). This is the first of two sessions over a two-day period. During the first session, we will discuss pressure points, strikes, lockouts and other options. We will discuss how the negotiating committee can be used to its fullest advantage. We will discuss the importance of good communication within our community and the need to get involved. We will discuss talking to the press. In some respects this part of the program will be a refresher for musicians experienced in the negotiation process and will bring musicians new to the process up to speed. 

Elements of Program I, Session 2. We will focus directly on negotiations with the League, Disney and MRI. We will discuss 802’s history of negotiations, issues and expectations. We will review the 1993, 1998 and 2003 negotiations (including the 2003 labor dispute), preparation of actual proposals, research needs and public relations strategies. This program should be a key element for those who will be directly involved in the negotiation process.

Elements of Program II (“Delegate Training”). What is a grievance? What is the role of the grievance handler? What are types of grievances (discipline, discharge, contract interpretation), investigation requirements and duty of fair representation? We will be discussing arbitrations, preparation for arbitrations and arbitration rulings. We will discuss time limits for filing, selection and preparation of witnesses and working with attorneys.

Elements of Program III. This program will cover the key elements of Program II (above) as related to house contractors, who are especially invited to attend. We will focus on interpreting the Broadway/League agreement, what works, what doesn’t work, what’s misinterpreted and what’s misunderstood. Our members will benefit by having house contractors who are in agreement of a consistent interpretation of the contract instead of varying understandings of the contract.

The first program will be in June. For more information and to enroll, e-mail Principal Theatre Rep Mary Donovan at


In the winter of 2004 and going into 2005, Local 802 was proud to lead the Mayor’s Hudson Yards Affordable Housing Committee, which included 1.2 million union professionals from both the arts and entertainment industry and the construction industry.

On Jan. 19, 2005, as a direct result of the work of our committee, the New York City Council approved a rezoning proposal for the far West Side of Manhattan that included a substantial increase in affordable housing from 19 percent of total units to 28 percent of total units.

The modified zoning text also allows developers to provide affordable housing units to higher income levels. Our ability to provide affordable housing to union members that have divergent, and sometime episodic, incomes was one of the top priorities of our committee. On March 7, 2005, Local 802 was publicly thanked by Mayor Bloomberg as he signed the 421-A zoning text into law.

The Housing and Preservation Department of the mayor’s office is currently working with Community Board 4 on proposals for several locations on which to build housing. One site in particular is called the “Studio City Site” where the administration has agreed to develop affordable housing located between 43rd and 44th Streets, and 10th and 11th Avenues. The administration anticipates that this site will generate 600 affordable units, including 120 low-income units (up to 60 percent of the Area Median Income or AMI), 240 moderate-income units (up to 135 percent of AMI) and 240 middle-income units (up to 165 percent of AMI). The community is currently working with HPD on some concerns over height and luxury housing but we will keep you updated as the plan progresses.