With approximately 95 percent of our members out of work since mid-March of 2020, the pandemic predictably took a heavy toll on our local’s finances. The following is a snapshot analysis of our consolidated financial statements as of Dec. 31, 2020. (Also in this issue: our audited financial reports and Karen Fisher’s financial vice president’s report.)
Local 802’s main sources of income — membership dues and work dues — were significantly reduced in 2020. The greatest loss was in work dues revenue, down 64 percent from 2019. The only reason that percentage is not higher is due to the 2.5 months of regular income in January 2020 to March 2020 (before the pandemic). While our numbers are starting to look better this year, we will not see a normalization of that figure until the full restoration of work at the Metropolitan Opera and Broadway.
Membership dues collected were down 25 percent from 2019. We are extremely appreciative to all the members who maintained their membership through this difficult time and are now welcoming back the members who resigned due to financial hardship.
The sum of these losses is $3,421,164, which represents half of our overall revenues compared to 2019.
In 2020, we cut $1,889,368 from our 2019 expenses, a 32 percent reduction. While many other nonprofits were receiving the benefit of government aid, we learned early on that labor unions were ineligible for Payroll Protection Program loans. We were on our own except for some relief from the CARES Act in the form of payroll tax credits. To meet payroll, maintain our building, pay our property taxes, and continue to serve members, we had to implement several measures to offset our steep losses.
After making some careful projections, we transferred $500,000 from our investments into our general fund to ensure we would have adequate cash flow to get us to the end of the year.
The most difficult decision we had to make was to reduce personnel costs by implementing layoffs. All remaining employees and officers accepted a pay reduction while at the same time shouldering an increased workload. We are extremely grateful for the dedication and shared sacrifice of every single Local 802 employee. The reductions resulted in lowering our personnel expenses by 35 percent compared to 2019.
We implemented other cost saving measures that helped us in 2020 and will continue to streamline our operations into the future. By going digital with Allegro, we will be not only more eco-friendly, but will be saving approximately $100,000 per year in printing and mailing expenses. We re-negotiated every vendor contract we have in our building — from copiers to water coolers — reducing our building expenses by 32 percent and other office expenses by 36 percent. General expenses decreased by 13 percent. We can expect that the use of digital balloting as well as some degree of remote meeting will continue to take place well beyond re-opening.
Notwithstanding our efforts, we incurred a loss of $867,839. No loss is ever desirable but considering the damage done to our industry and our members over the past year, we would have been in a far worse financial position had we not taken early and specific action. We are extremely grateful to our vendors as well as the New York State AFL-CIO and the NYC Central Labor Council for their flexibility and support. We especially owe a huge debt of gratitude to our investment advisors at Morgan Stanley and our auditing team at Gould, Kobrick, and Schlapp who consistently demonstrated great patience and provided expert guidance and assistance throughout this turbulent year.
We still have a long road and a lot of work ahead, but we are confident that we are poised to emerge from the crisis stronger and more united than ever.
Karen Fisher is Local 802’s financial vice president; Alla Emelianova is Local 802’s financial controller.