The first paragraph was inadvertently omitted from a letter printed in last month’s Musicians’ Voice. Following is the complete text of that letter, and the response that accompanied it. We apologize for the omission, and the confusion it caused.
PAYING THE PRICE FOR APATHY
To the Editor:
I attended the June 20 bylaw meeting at which the voting procedure of Local 802 was set back 35 years. Not only did this meeting pass a bylaw change which will prevent the voters from being informed (on the ballot) of any affiliations of the candidates (such as ticket or party) but it returned us to a chaotic system in which all candidates for a given office are lumped together alphabetically.
The reform movement in 802 was able to eliminate this cumbersome and confusing system 35 years ago, against the opposition of the entrenched administration at the time. It took a great deal of hard work and risk of reprisal to get it done then, but the result (slate listings on the ballot) was partly responsible for the elimination of the old Arons administration in 1982.
The worst part of this deplorable event is that an action that affects all the members of our union was taken by a vote of only 127 members (of whom about 60 voted against), just two above the bare minimum required for a quorum. Events like this can only occur, in a democratic society, when the majority of the membership is apathetic and does not come to meetings, allowing a small group to impose its will on the entire membership.
Of course our local has long suffered from the malady of apathy and we are now paying the first price for it. Who knows what the next price will be? It would be tragic if we allow the hard-won gains of the reform movement in 802 to be eroded because we won’t attend membership meetings.
President Moriarity comments:
I would like to clarify why, despite a discrepancy between the last quorum count (127) and the vote count (144) at the June 20 meeting, I nevertheless declared the bylaw resolution to have passed.
Almost immediately after the quorum count, the member who made the count informed me that he had not included himself, Vice-President Price or me, thus bringing the count to 130. The difference, therefore, between the quorum count and the vote count was 14 (144 less 130).
The margin of victory for the resolution was 24 votes (84 yes, 64 no). If all 14 of the questionable votes were declared invalid and deducted from the prevailing position, the measure would still have passed by 10 votes. Therefore, with the concurrence of the parliamentarian, I declared the resolution approved.