Becoming an activist is easier than you think

Volume CX, No. 3March, 2010

Ethan Fein

President Tino Gagliardi recently reported to the Broadway Theatre Committee that he had met with Denis Hughes, the president of the New York State AFL-CIO.

Tino said they discussed various opportunities for Local 802 in advancing our cause politically through our associations with the AFL-CIO and our sister unions.

Taking advantage of these associations is extremely important for the future of Local 802 and the state of music and the fortunes of musicians. In order to achieve real goals, we need participation from our rank-and-file members to support Tino’s initiatives.

The Local 802 Power Boosters was established two years ago and has had some success in phone campaigns to help elect President Barack Obama and a number of local legislators, as well as making lobbying trips to Albany and Washington, D.C. in support of music and the arts.

By the time this article is printed in Allegro we will have been involved in a lobbying trip to Albany for New York State Arts Day to promote funding for the arts.

The last time we went to Albany for lobbying we also were able to make the case to eliminate the proposed tax on theater tickets, which might have had a seriously negative effect on business on Broadway as well as a possible motivation for attacks on theater payments toward our pensions.

We also were able to lobby for the post-production tax credit, which, if enacted, will benefit musicians involved in creating music for films.

The rather surprising aspect of involvement in these activities is that almost everyone who participates has a good time doing it, and feels good after doing it. (If you stop and think about it, many things that feel good at the time don’t feel so good after!)

In addition, there are things which are often learned which have unexpected benefits. Sometimes these are intangible, but sometimes they turn out to be very real and very helpful in one’s life.

Paul Molloy, the union’s political director, has been working very hard to help Tino in his efforts to advance Local 802. We need to help them help ourselves. To sign up for notification of future actions taken by the Power Boosters, please contact Paul at or me at