Congratulations on a Great Contract and Victory at Radio City Music Hall

Guest Commentary

Volume CV, No. 12December, 2005

Denis Hughes

On behalf of the 2.5 million members of the New York State AFL-CIO, I would like to extend my congratulations to the members of AFM Local 802, to the musicians who perform at Radio City Music Hall and to your leadership for a job well done.

These days, even under the best of circumstances it has become increasingly difficult to negotiate a fair and equitable contract on behalf of working men and women.

A disturbing trend has emerged across this country. More and more workers have to fight tooth and nail to bring democracy to the workplace. Employers feel comfortable in denying workers their constitutional rights and freedoms.

In fact, Corporate America has increasingly taken the stance in recent years that the workplace is no place for democracy. They seem to have decided that fattening their bottom line at the expense of the needs and concerns of working men and women is an acceptable business practice.

In this climate, it is remarkable that Local 802 was able to secure victory at the bargaining table in its recent negotiations with Cablevision, and that the future of live music at Radio City Music Hall was saved.

As I mentioned it is difficult at best, even under promising circumstances, to negotiate a contract that is fair and equitable to workers. It becomes exponentially more difficult when management is intent on taking back hard-earned rights and benefits from their employees. In fact, it becomes next to impossible.

That is why I was so impressed with the leadership and negotiating skills of your president, David Lennon, and your negotiating committee for rising up to the formidable challenge presented by Cablevision.

Battling a multi-billion-dollar corporate giant with unlimited resources at its disposal, Local 802 stood its ground, and more.

You secured a long-term contract, saved the jobs of your members at Radio City, and on top of that you saved live music at this country’s most famous and historic entertainment venue.

Congratulations once again to President Lennon, the negotiating committee, and most of all, to the members of Local 802. Your commitment to supporting your union, to standing together with your brothers and sisters during the darkest hours, and for emerging victorious when no one thought you could, you deserve the thanks and appreciation of the entire labor movement.

Your solidarity, dedication and spirit serve as an inspiration to your union brothers and sisters throughout this state.

Thank you for all you have done.

Happy Holidays!