By the time you read these words, our negotiating team will have met with the Broadway League a few times to exchange proposals and begin preliminary bargaining. I want our members to know that even though we would like to give you more frequent updates, it’s often not strategic to do so. The best way we can arrive at a fair contract is to maintain our discretion during these sessions. Rest assured that if negotiations start to go sour, we will definitely go public and ask for your help and support. In the meantime, we ask for your trust and faith in allowing us to be confidential with these extremely important talks. Local 802 is working closely with the Broadway negotiating committee, which is made up of rank-and-file Broadway musicians. As always, although the current Broadway contract expired as of March 7, 2016, the agreement is still in full force and effect for all Broadway musicians as we continue to negotiate. Like all negotiations, there is a process – a sometimes difficult process – as we analyze the employer’s proposals and they analyze ours. This takes time and work. As soon as there is something substantive to report, you will hear from me.
CELEBRATING THIS MONTH
- Jazz is truly one of America’s gifts to world music. Many Local 802 members are jazz musicians, and jazz is a critical part of the history of both Local 802 and New York City. Congress has even declared jazz to be a national treasure. In 2002, the Smithsonian designated the month of April as Jazz Appreciation Month. Our cover story is about an amazing program we recently launched at Local 802 called Jazz Mentors. More and more, we want to showcase Local 802 as a place to build community, share networking tips and be a resource for musicians. Local 802 has also started a monthly concert series called Jazz in the Afternoon, which is raising money for our Emergency Relief Fund. The next two events are on April 12 and April 28. Finally in this issue, we’re excited to present a feature interview with jazz (and classical) master Paquito D’Rivera.
- Let’s never forget those who have given their lives for their work. Every year, the labor movement observes Workers Memorial Day on April 28, to commemorate those who have died on the job and to focus on making workplaces safer. For more information, see www.aflcio.org/Issues/Job-Safety/WorkersMemorialDay.
- Earth Day also takes place this month, on April 22. Check out the latest updates on how to go green from the Broadway Green Alliance.
We successfully achieved a contract for a touring performance of “Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage,” which features a live orchestra performing the music of “Star Trek.” The tour stopped at Madison Square Garden on March 5. Though the international tour itself is non-union, our Organizing Department coordinated with the AFM and local partners to develop a strategy that led to successfully securing fair wages, protections and benefits for 30 Local 802 musicians. Remember, any time you’re called to play in a major hall like Madison Square Garden, please make a confidential call to our Organizing Department at (212) 245-4802. We can help make sure you earn the wages and benefits you deserve.
In other concert news, please read Financial Vice President Tom Olcott’s analysis about the breakup of the Long Island Philharmonic, and how this loss might have been prevented if management had actually listened to the musicians over the years (what a concept!).
UNION NEWS ROUNDUP
- New York City Opera is back and the orchestra has ratified a new agreement with the reconstituted company. I had the pleasure of attending the inaugural concert. As expected, the performance was outstanding and I am very much looking forward to a successful season. Welcome home!
- We’re sorry to report that Jay Brandford has announced his resignation from the Local 802 Executive Board. As we all know, our business is a difficult one and sometimes in order to better serve our families, sacrifices in union involvement are required. Our bylaws prohibit leaders, personnel managers and contractors from serving on our union’s most important committee, the Executive Board, and Jay has accepted the job of in-house contractor for a Broadway show. Our Executive Board is the governing body elected to address all business of the local as well as serving as oversight for your elected titled officers, president and the two vice presidents. Jay has diligently served on the board with intelligence, fairness and dedication since December 2011, where, in his own words, he “learned about the strength of our collective voice.” As per our bylaws, the Executive Board will appoint a successor for Jay. Such appointments are among those that the Executive Board takes very seriously and when the board vets and decides on a successor, we’ll let you know. We wish Jay the best of luck for a long run.
- I’m pleased to report that the Pierre Hotel has officially renewed its participation in the Local 802 hotel agreement, which means that our musicians who perform there will enjoy the benefits and guarantees of a union contract. If you get called to play in any hotel in New York City, please call our Organizing Department at (212) 245-4802.
- We didn’t have a quorum at our most recent Feb. 10 membership meeting, so members weren’t able to vote on the two bylaw resolutions on the table. However, as per our bylaws, the Executive Board later passed the bylaws at its Feb. 16 meeting (see Executive Board Minutes). The adopted bylaws include a clarification of how Local 802 deals with uncontested elections and, secondly, how we may use rental income on the sixth floor for our Emergency Relief Fund.
- I’m still assisting the AFM with the Sound Recording Labor Agreement negotiations and we continue to meet with management. We have dates coming up to meet with the record labels in New York. Also, the AFM has settled on a successor agreement for the National Public Television contract. President Ray Hair will undoubtedly report on this in the International Musician, but I would like to add that the new agreement provides improvements in compensation and benefits. Again, thank you, President Hair, for all of your hard work.
- I recently taped a podcast with Broadway producer Ken Davenport (“Kinky Boots” and many more) about the challenges of being a pit musician; how Local 802 relates to technology; my take, as a theatre committee member, on the 2003 Broadway musicians’ strike; what Broadway producers should do before they decide on an orchestra size; and…the biggest myth about Broadway musicians – and why it’s just not true! You can listen to it at http://ow.ly/YBYXm.
VOTE IN THE PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARIES!
On a final note, the presidential primaries are April 19 in New York, April 26 in Connecticut, April 26 in Pennsylvania and June 7 in New Jersey. Local 802 has not made an official endorsement in either the Republican or Democratic primaries. Whoever you choose, please choose wisely. Some people believe that this is the most important presidential campaign in recent memory. Please vote! New Yorkers can find their polling place and more at www.elections.ny.gov.
APPLY NOW FOR ANNE WALKER SCHOLARSHIP
May 1 is the deadline to apply for this year’s Anne Walker Scholarships. This is the 18th year that members of Local 802 and their children who are pursuing studies in music will have the opportunity to apply for these prizes.
To be eligible, you must be a Local 802 member in good standing or the child of a member in good standing. Historically, each award has been in the range of $500 to $1,000.
Other details and rules apply. Click here for more information.