Volume 123, No. 7July, 2023

Local 802 Communications Subcommittee

As a result of Tino Gagliardi’s recent election as AFM president, there will be some necessary changes to the current 802 administration. Gagliardi will resign as Local 802 president and executive director, effective August 1. The Local 802 Executive Board has deliberated on a successor per the Local 802 bylaws and has appointed Executive Board member Sara Cutler to succeed Gagliardi as president and executive director of 802, also as of August 1. Vice Presidents Mars and Fisher will remain in their current positions and the Executive Board has begun considering a replacement for Cutler on the board.

Cutler and Gagliardi have worked collaboratively for over a decade. “I recognize in her the skill, dedication, leadership and absolute unionism necessary to negotiate, administer, and promote the affairs of our local and fairly represent the members of Local 802,” says Gagliardi.

Cutler, who recently retired from principal harp positions at the New York City Ballet, the American Symphony and the Orchestra of St Luke’s, has over 20 years of experience working within the local, first as an orchestra committee member for both the NYCB and the ASO. She became chair of both committees and led several important negotiations for both groups. In 2008, she achieved the richest successor contract for musicians in City Ballet’s history. She participated in several Met negotiations and one rehearsal pianist negotiation, was on the picket line in 2003 for the Broadway strike and led the informational picket at Lincoln Center when the Paul Taylor Dance Company appeared there with no live music. (The next season they appeared with a full pit orchestra and have ever since.) Cutler was an executive board officer from 2010-2018, and again since 2022, and has also been a trustee of the Musician Health Fund on and off for 13 years. As president, she will take over as co-chair of that fund.

Over the next 18 months, until the end of the present term, Cutler will direct an agenda that includes:

  • renegotiating several successor agreements
  • overseeing a broad organizing agenda that includes unionizing nonunion groups
  • implementing substantial member and non-member training initiatives
  • coordinating and facilitating the work of several grass-roots DEI initiatives in our jurisdiction

In addition to these ongoing priorities, Cutler will continue to lead the building conversion project, which should be well on its way, if not approaching its conclusion, by the end of the term in January 2025.

Cutler will rely heavily on her fellow Directors/Officers, board officers and Local 802 staff to keep the business of 802 running smoothly and effectively. President Gagliardi will also continue to serve the members of Local 802 by offering the support of the AFM and by assisting Cutler when needed. The union’s policy of relying on committees elected to represent bargaining units will continue.

Cutler says “I look forward to working with both staff and members to implement policies and projects that will confirm 802’s position as a great force in the NY musical community while serving and protecting our members for decades to come. It’s an exciting opportunity to fix things at the union that don’t work and double down on the things that do.”