Musicians Local 802 has announced a Nov. 18 settlement and one-year contract extension with Cablevision, the parent company of Radio City Music Hall. The contract extension and pay gain for musicians resolves a labor dispute that had threatened to disrupt the 1999 holiday shows at the recently reopened venue.
A Local 802 spokesperson told Playbill On-Line that negotiators for Radio City have accepted a contract and a settlement. As part of the negotiated deal, Local 802 musicians will get a $50 raise per contract week. The Christmas season comprises nine weeks of work for musicians at Radio City, the union source said.
"The base salary is increased by $50," said Local 802 assistant to the president Bill Dennison. "The base salary was $1, 300 for a week, with a week consisting of 12 shows. We've increased the base to $1,350."
Dennison said that the deal with Cablevision called for a rollover of the current contract with no changes except for the wage increase.
"I guess we'll revisit some of the issues that remain unresolved a year from now and see how that goes," Dennison said. "It's a little bit of a different world dealing with the Cablevisions, the Disneys and the SFXs that make up the big corporate presence that is now in the theatre business in New York. "There's a corporate mentality," Dennison added. "I think they have their eye on the bottom line only and that they have less interest in a friendly relationship with the staff. It's more of a distant relationship, perhaps more distant than we've been used to. I think unions as a whole are going to have to find a way to deal with this mentality.
"It's certainly challenging and it may be more difficult. Hopefully the new corporate entities in the theatre scene will come to see their most valuable commodity is people -- the people who make theatre happen, from wardrobe to musicians to actors. It's these people that make theatre happen and we've got to convince the corporate people that they've got to value the people who really make theatre happen."
Radio City Music Hall did not return a call by press time.
-- By Murdoch McBride