Local 802, the musician’s union, is on strike against Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY), and plans a rally outside of Carnegie Hall on Monday, Feb. 20, at 6 p.m. DCINY produces concerts at such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. The for-profit company employs 257 musicians.
But its refusal to grant a fair contract to its players after years has reached a boiling point. Job security, hiring provisions, professional wages, pension and health contributions, and recording payments are on the line. Musicians feel they have no choice but to put down their instruments and walk the picket line instead.
In 2019, the orchestra won the initial step of union recognition. In response, management decimated their ranks and took the insulting step of replacing them with an unpaid amateur high school ensemble. In response, the players staged a high visibility protest at Carnegie Hall. It’s been over three years that musicians have tried to negotiate a fair contract but to no avail – DCNY continued its hard line approach, even when it was charged with federal Unfair Labor Practice charges.
“An injury to one is an injury to all,” said Local 802 President Tino Gagliardi. “We must stand up for professional standards…We demand a fair contract for the musicians of DCINY.” Elected officials will also attend the rally, as they have in the past.
Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine expressed his support last year at the musician’s rally outside Lincoln Center. “I’m here to stand with you in your fight for a decent contract,” said Levine. “You deserve the security of a pension and retirement. You deserve health care like every American. You deserve a salary that allows you to pay for housing and other needs for your family. This is not too much to ask. I am here to stand with you as long as it takes to get a fair contract!