Let me begin this report by expressing my and our administration’s
hope that you and your friends and family have fully recovered from Hurricane
Sandy and its aftermath. If you still need assistance, please contact the office
of our Musicians’ Assistance Program at (212) 397-4802 or MAP@Local802afm.org.
A variety of public and private programs are still available to help those
As I write this, the big news is President Barack Obama’s
re-election. As you know, Local 802 endorsed President Obama, and many of our
members volunteered in his campaign (see story on page 8). Now is the time for
all of us to come together and continue to advocate for the economic recovery of
our country and support of the arts. The election was important, but make no
mistake: the real, hard work is still ahead of us. We must be tireless in our
efforts to convince politicians and the public that investing in the arts is
crucial to America and to American culture. We’ve got our work cut out for us.
I hope that we can count on you as well as our allies in New York City, Albany
As you can see from our cover story, we’re pleased to feature an
interview with legendary bassist and longtime union activist Bob Cranshaw.
Besides being a jazz legend, Bob has given his heart and soul to the union, for
which we are enormously grateful. Bob’s story is remarkable – check it out
in this issue. Another interview we’re featuring this issue is with violinist
Sam Marder, who is a longtime Local 802 member as well as a Holocaust survivor.
I’ve had the distinct pleasure of working with Mr. Marder for many years in
the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra, and hearing his stories first hand is truly
enlightening. You don’t want to miss this story.
As we approach the end of 2012, it seems appropriate to look back
at the year and reflect on our high notes and low notes.
In a way, the year was as notable for what didn’t happen as for
what did. We settled two major agreements – the New York Philharmonic contract
and the single engagement classical scale – without a strike and without
losing our pension provisions. That may seem like a strange thing to celebrate,
but in a year when classical music was hit hard all over the country, we can say
that music solidarity in New York City is strong and that we have powerful
defenses in place.
On the other hand, we must never become complacent. As members
know, management at the New York City Opera gutted the musicians’ contract
this year. Orchestra management in Philadelphia used the threat of bankruptcy to
end their participation in the AFM pension plan. And in Atlanta, Indianapolis,
Minnesota and Spokane, orchestra management locked out musicians. There are more
battles to come.
The good news is that we’re on the right side of this struggle.
We’re on the side of the real aesthetic of musical expression through the
magic of live humans producing live music. As much as the forces of money,
profit, greed and economics will try to defeat us, audiences understand in their
souls the power of what we represent. Our job is to continually remind people of
that power. The more we do this, the more we will prevail.
Musicians and other creative artists carry the light of hope for
civilization. We do our art to make a living, but we also do it to create and
sustain culture. The battle for art and beauty is not one that we’re prepared
Other notable achievements at Local 802 this year included the
We fought back taped music at Lincoln Center twice this year.
The Paul Taylor Dance Company used canned music for a three-week residency
in April, and a one-night ballet festival used canned music in October. Our
message to Lincoln Center is that musicians and audiences will not tolerate
Local 802 was represented by several AFM officers – including
myself – at the historic Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances and at
the 2012 Congress of the International Federation of Musicians (FIM), held
this year in Argentina. We submitted a resolution to the congress calling
for “no collection without distribution,” which was adopted
We significantly ramped up our Justice for Jazz Artists
campaign with musical marches, tons of press coverage and much more
intensity. We also began a campaign to bring more live music to hotels.
We hosted at least four major events in the club room this
year: an AFM organizing summit, a nightlife forum with State Sen. Tom Duane,
our eighth annual Meet and Greet for theatre musicians, and a very
successful event sponsored by the Actors Fund called “Beyond the
Gig,” which dealt with how to manage your career as a musician.
We kept our union financially stable with prudent spending and
better use of our resources. In this economic climate, that was no small
feat. We also continued to support musicians through our Emergency Relief
Fund, Musicians’ Assistance Program and Anne Walker Scholarship Fund.
We lobbied, in tandem with AFM Legislative Director Hal Ponder,
for the FAA Modernization and Reform Act (H.R. 658), which Congress passed.
The law finally established a uniform national policy regarding musical
instruments on airplanes.
We witnessed an historic merger between SAG and AFTRA.
We ratified many new agreements, including the master club date
agreement, contracts covering the Metropolitan Opera Staff and City
Center/Encores, and agreements covering dozens of Off Broadway productions.
Also, the New York Musical Theatre Festival agreed to cover all musicians
under a Local 802 agreement in all of its shows this year. On the national
front, we assisted the AFM in several recording contracts. The AFM achieved
a new Pamphlet B touring agreement in which AFM President Ray Hair was able
to finally get rid of the unwanted tiers that enabled some shows to be
launched with ultra-low wages.
Local 802 member Mitch Frohman facilitated the donation of a
set of congas, bongos and timbales by the Latin Percussion music company to
the Local 802 club room.
We fought back two bad decisions by awards organizations. The
Drama Desk had announced that it was going to drop the Best Orchestrator
award category, and the Grammys had tried to cut the award for Best Latin
Jazz Album. Thanks to strong protests by musicians, both categories were
We fought and continue to fight the Ninth Avenue parking fiasco
– a two-hour time limit on parking spots on Ninth Avenue – which
adversely affects Broadway artists and audience members. For more, see www.bitly.com/save-parking-on-9th-ave
We handled major grievances, including the settling of the
grievance over the show “Priscilla,” where producers had hired
fewer musicians than the minimum and instead used a recording to provide the
sound of strings and to augment the winds and brass. We also collected over
$21,000 in re-use fees from ABC, which we paid back to the musicians.
In a campaign that we called Operation Fair Play, we assigned
reps to various venues to assure that our major venues stay union, including
Lincoln Center, Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden and many more.
At the same time, we reinstated our Unfair List so that musicians know which
employers to watch out for (see page 12).
We kept our members informed about the Affordable Care Act to
let them know how it might affect them.
We laid the groundwork for a new Local 802 Internet radio
We redesigned the Local 802 Web site.
Our journal Allegro won a local and national prize for best
In summary, it was a year filled with many victories and many
challenges. As always, our number-one mission is to work hard to represent
musicians to the best of our ability. We never take your trust for granted.
On a personal note, I would again like to thank you for your faith
in our administration, which allowed us to run unopposed in this year’s Local
802 officer elections.
Have a wonderful holiday season and I’ll see you at the Local 802
holiday party on Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 5 p.m. in the club room.
On this page in the October issue, we mistakenly abbreviated the
Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians as OCSOM. The correct abbreviation