Hundreds Turn Out to Celebrate the Burning of 802’s Mortgage

Volume CII, No. 2February, 2002

Hundreds of 802 members and friends turned out on Dec. 19 to celebrate a landmark event in the union’s history – the paying off of our building mortgage, years ahead of schedule.

Highlights of the evening included the presentation of plaques to two members who helped make it all possible – former president John Glasel and Executive Board member Jack Gale – and music by Junior Mance (piano), Earl May (bass) and Jackie Williams (drums). Many other musicians took the stage, as the party continued.

A cheer went up as 802 President Bill Moriarity burned the envelope the mortgage came in. (It seemed like a poor idea to burn a document that had been stamped “discharged” by the Office of the City Register).

In making the presentation to Glasel, Moriarity expressed deep appreciation for his commitment to the struggle for justice, dedication to the principles of progressive trade unionism, and unswerving devotion to improving the lives of professional musicians. “These have made a difference in all of our lives,” he said.

He paid tribute to Gale’s years of efforts on behalf of musicians, both as a rank-and-file union member and as an Executive Board member. “Your energy, commitment and wisdom have made Local 802 a far better and more effective union.”

Between 300 and 400 people turned out for the party. The celebration had particular resonance for many long-time members, with decades of involvement in New York’s music business and in the struggles for democracy at Local 802.

President Tom Lee and Secretary-Treasurer Florence Nelson spoke on behalf of the AFM. Also in attendance were elected officials – including newly-elected city council members Gail Brewer and Robert Jackson. Both addressed the crowd.

Friends from the labor movement and community organizations also attended. Among them were Carol Waaser, Eastern Regional Director of Actors’ Equity, who spoke on behalf of Executive Director Alan Eisenberg. She welcomed the opportunity to be part of this event and stressed the importance of closer relations among New York’s entertainment unions. ATPAM (the Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers) and IATSE Local 1 also sent representatives.

The holiday party was captured in photos by Chuck DeLaney (on page 12 of the Feb. 2002 issue) and in words by 802 member Carla Rupp (her account of the festivities appeared on the web site, and is also reprinted here).