Casa Mañana Musicians Ratify New 5 Year CBA
On December 14, the Musicians of the Casa Mañana ratified a five-year agreement running from September 2021 through August 2026. This comes after many months of tense negotiations and a tempestuous year marked by a dispute over the use of recorded tracks in the company’s production of Matilda the Musical last February. Upon the Union’s filing of an Unfair Labor Practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board over the Matilda dispute, the musicians moved forward with negotiations for a successor agreement with the company. Ensuring a difficult path forward, the company brought proposals to the table which would eliminate the use of the basic hiring list, which had for decades defined the membership of the Casa Manana Orchestra.
After hard bargaining and a strong show of solidarity and persistence from the Casa Mañana musicians, a deal was reached including wage increases of 5% for the 2022-23 season, 4% for 2023-24, 4% for 2024-25, and 3% for 2025-26.
Perhaps the defining issue for this negotiation was the bargaining over hiring procedures involving the Basic Hiring List. With this agreement the hiring list has been maintained, with the addition of now settled work rules governing the Hiring List’s application. An entire new article to the CBA has been developed which includes: new procedures for adding new members, due process for dismissal, some limited flexibility for hiring outside the list (balanced with members’ protections for those on the list) and new discipline language.
In addition to maintaining the Basic Hiring List, new rules were bargained involving Casa Mañana musicians in the processes for determining the various productions’ musical complements and orchestration. With the establishment of the musician’s Orchestration Committee, the players will have a voice and a channel of communication with the company regarding how scores are reduced and configured in the tight Casa Manana Theatre pit. This would include rules requiring timely notifications and consultations for the new committee.
In addition, grievance and arbitration procedures have been introduced to the agreement, providing a mechanism for contract enforcement not available before. This newly added component will add strength to other provisions bargained, and help ensure that a dispute with the company has a clear path to settlement.
Still pending is the Unfair Labor Practice complaint filed by Local 72-147 over the use of recorded tracts in the February Matilda production.
“After a difficult negotiation coinciding with Casa’s return after the Pandemic, we have achieved higher wages and work rules to protect the job security of our musicians,” said Local 72-147 President Stewart Williams. “And we will be better equipped to face new challenges with this new CBA.”
The Union’s negotiation committee consisted of Musicians Elaine Davidson, Jesse Fry, Becky Rathbun and Larry Spencer, with Local 72-147 President Stewart Williams and Local Counsel David Watsky.