Update: Local 802 Responds to Dispute with BE MORE CHILL Orchestrator
Be More Chill officially began its Broadway run last week, and while the show is already celebrating an exciting milestone, conflict as has arisen between the show and Local 802, the union for professional musicians. As BroadwayWorld reported yesterday, Orchestrator Charlie Rosen took to Facebook to explain why the union has prevented him from performing in the pit as Guitar 2 & Ukulele. He writes:
A lot of friends and colleagues have been calling and texting me asking what happened and asking me to fill them in on rumors they've heard, so I'd like to publicly set the record straight. It is with an extremely heavy heart that I am being forced to announce that I will no longer be playing in the pit of Be More Chill unless and until my Union changes its rule discussed below.
The new president of 802 Adam Krauthamer has decided to start enforcing some long overlooked language in the collective bargaining agreement mere days before said CBA is set to be renegotiated. This language states:
(a) (i) No Orchestrator of a given production may serve as Orchestra Contractor, Supervisor Copyist, Copyist or Instrumentalist on that production.
I'd like to begin my thoughts on this first with the narrative of how this language was enacted in my situation. 2 hours before the invited dress rehearsal of Be More Chill, the band was asked to meet with Adam Krauthamer in the orchestra room of our theater so that he could inform us as a group, without warning, that my filling the chair as the Guitar 2 player on Be More Chill was in violation of the CBA and that I cannot legally be allowed to play the show.
Click here to read the full post.
Local 802 President Adam Krauthamer and Be More Chill's General Manager Lisa Dozier King met to collaboratively discuss the pending matter and reaffirm their shared commitment to upholding the Collective Bargaining Agreement between Local 802 and the Broadway League.
Dozier King said, "Local 802 raised an issue under the current labor agreement and we are having respectful and productive conversations regarding how best to move forward. We are grateful to Adam and the 802 Board for swiftly working towards a productive solution."
Krauthamer said, "I look forward to continuing our productive relationship with Be More Chill and the other shows on Broadway under the Collective Bargaining Agreement."
The Be More Chill team, Adam Krauthamer, and the Local 802 Board recognize that the preservation of artists is a top priority.
Rosen has since written his own update:
Friends, musicians, colleagues: I'd like to thank you all so much for all of your words regarding the situation in my previous posts. However, I do feel regrets about inciting such a fire over what was simply a misunderstanding between the union and myself.
New president of 802 Adam Krauthamer and I had another great conversation after my previous post, and it's now clear to me that this is an issue with upholding the Broadway CBA, which provides important protection for all of us performing in shows year-round.
Let me now clarify a few points that were misinterpreted in my previous post: Local 802 and Adam Krauthamer never threatened to fire me, remove me from my guitar chair, or pull me out of the show. They simply informed me that my performing in the show was in violation of the CBA. The Be More Chill team was made aware by the union that there was an issue with compliance in the language of the CBA a week before Adam came and spoke to the band. Unfortunately, due to a miscommunication on our side, not everyone was told about the issue. When Adam met with the band in the theater a week later to explain more about this issue from 802's perspective, he had been told by the production that the whole band was aware of the situation, which we were not.
This caused a lot of confusion and the fact that we were not on the same page was not Adam Krauthamer or the union's fault. This was really just a simple misunderstanding between the production, myself, and the union. The producers and the musicians' union are working amicably together to have a productive and collaborative conversation about next steps for our production, and the relationship between musicians, productions, and the union as a whole.
I'd like to say, I'm very happy to be a part of such a passionate and stalwart community of artists.
The Associated Musicians of Greater New York, Local 802 American Federation of Musicians represents over 7,500 highly-skilled musicians who drive New York City's thriving cultural and tourism economy, which brings over 58 million visitors each year. Its members - who perform on Broadway, at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and Radio City, on late night TV shows and in other televised bands, as well as in hotels, clubs, festivals and venues across NYC - are protected by collective bargaining agreements ensuring proper classification, fair treatment and a living wage. www.local802afm.org