Last Month at the Local

Last month the Palm Beach Opera Orchestra was scheduled to perform an outdoor concert at the waterfront. After turning down other gigs, practicing their music, making reeds, and doing whatever preparation is necessary, they showed up to the first rehearsal to be told that the Opera was going to cancel the concert due to predicted bad weather.

And the Opera was going to cancel not just the concert, but the remaining three rehearsals as well. Luckily the musicians have a collective bargaining agreement and are represented by AFM Local 655. On a nonunion job, the musicians would have lost out on four services of work. But because their contract has a cancellation clause, musicians were paid in full for all of the cancelled services. Thanks go to not only the contract, but also to Palm Beach Opera for honoring that contract and for their respect and commitment to the musicians who in turn respect and commit to the Opera.

On the other hand, there are employers that take advantage of musicians rather than respecting them. One of those employers is the United States orchestra contractor for the Celtic Thunder tour. Celtic Thunder paid good money for a professional orchestra to accompany them in each city on their tour. Instead, the orchestra contractor offered below-scale pay to whatever musicians were willing to work for that rate and pocketed a healthy profit for himself.

Which organization would you rather work for? A union contract can make a big difference in whether you are treated fairly and with respect. Let us know if you would like help in getting your gig under a union contract!


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