Members who become disabled now have an easier time in applying for honor membership under a new bylaw resolution adopted by 802’s Executive Board.
Usually, members could only earn honor status after 35 years of consecutive membership and after attaining the age of 65. However, under the new bylaw, disabled members need only 20 years of consecutive membership and an age of 40 to be considered honor members.
Eligible members must be officially determined to be disabled under the requirements of the U. S. Social Security Administration or the AFM pension fund.
Honor members enjoy all of the same rights as regular members but pay less dues under a formula spelled out in 802’s bylaws. In general, honor members pay about a third of regular dues.
The new bylaw also says that disabled members may retain their right to 802’s “death benefit” if they joined Local 802 before 1986, become disabled, and apply for honor membership under the new guidelines.
The “death benefit” is a cash payment of $1,000 and is paid to a member’s survivor or designated beneficiary. In the past, this benefit was seen as a way to help the families of musicians, who were often destitute, to pay for a funeral.
(Usually, members must wait until age 70 before choosing honor status in order to remain eligible for the death benefit. In addition, only those who joined or rejoined the union before 1986 are eligible for the death benefit.)
This resolution would have been voted on by members at the Oct. 11, 2005, membership meeting. However, a quorum was not present, which allowed the Executive Board to pass the resolution itself.
For more information, contact Recording Vice President Bill Dennison at (212) 245-4802, ext. 111.