The following message was e-mailed to all Local 802 members on July 31, 2020:
Dear fellow 802 members,
As we are all painfully aware, the Covid-19 pandemic has put nearly the entire membership of Local 802 out of work since the middle of March. Although we hope that performances will resume soon and that our employers find creative ways to generate work in the meantime, we simply do not know when regular employment will resume.
We are all suffering from the loss of income –- and Local 802 is no exception. The majority of our revenue comes from work dues received every time musicians work under collective bargaining agreements. Work dues have virtually stopped coming into Local 802. In order to survive, we were forced to take extraordinary measures to cut expenses. Regrettably, that included cutting down on personnel costs. Since the state and local mandate to shut down in March, we were forced to put a large part of our valued staff on emergency leave.
Now, however, we have no choice but to notify those on emergency leave that they will be permanently laid off. We tried to avoid doing this for as long as possible, knowing the impact this will have on everyone, including our members, our remaining staff, and our local as an institution. But we are charged with the duty and obligation to preserve the local and ensure that we survive this crisis. Live music will return in force to NYC and we need to make sure that Local 802 will be in the best position to restore and revitalize our members’ work lives.
We recognize the great contributions that our staff has made to Local 802 — some over many decades — and the valuable service they provided to our membership. It is our sincere hope that once we navigate this unprecedented crisis, we can rebuild our valued staff along with the union. We have reduced the salaries of all remaining staff, including the officers and executive board members. Even so, Local 802 faces severe and continuing financial challenges that can only be met by making these extremely painful cuts now. We will continue to operate remotely to serve the membership until such time as we can safely return to our building.
We want to express our deepest gratitude to the staff for their service to our members and we wish them the very best.
Local 802 Executive Board