Before 2019, Local 802 saw many years of declining finances culminating in a massive deficit by year end 2018 predominantly brought about by heavy spending on legal, public relations, and personnel. When the current administration took office in January 2019, we made it a high priority to get our finances under control. As promised, we took a hard look at our income and expenses and made significant corrective changes. We cut expenses by $909,000 from the previous year and at the same time have made excellent progress in streamlining and modernizing our organization. We were able to achieve this even as we initiated the first large scale organizing campaign in years and successfully completed several important negotiations, including Broadway and a number of key freelance orchestras.
Upon taking office, we discovered many unpaid bills from the previous administration. We renegotiated those bills to the extent it was possible. We cut excessive spending on legal by 65% and public relations by 83%. On the personnel front, we cut expenses by 10% from the previous year. We made our organization more efficient by combining responsibilities when people left while hiring key people when necessary. We reduced our general expenses by 13%
Our investments grew by $528,585 due to strong market numbers posted in December of 2019. This is a gain of 11.3% from 2018.
On the minus side, revenues from membership and work dues declined by 3%. Our office expenses increased by 14% due to several factors, including some much-needed repairs to our aging building and upgrades to our computer system.
The Jazz Foundation of America moved out their rental space on the 6th floor in January, resulting in a loss of revenue for many months until we found new tenants. By December, we had cleared out the 3rd floor in the hopes of renting the space this year, but the nationwide shutdown due to Covid-19 has temporarily halted progress there.
By February 2020, we adopted a budget that would have yielded a surplus of $150,000. With the stoppage of our industry and our members unemployed for the immediate future, we will be facing nearly zero income from work dues in the coming months. We have made difficult but necessary decisions to keep Local 802 sustainable and ready to reopen when our members go back to work. In the meantime, the officers and essential staff continue to work remotely, and we all hope to be back to our offices at 322 W. 48 St. very soon.