Volume 120, No. 4April, 2020

It’s all about respect! We part-time faculty at the School of Jazz and Contemporary Music at the New School’s College of Performing Arts first won a contract with Local 802 in 1998. At the time, faculty had received only one raise in over 10 years and had no health benefits, pension or job security. Now, 22 years later, we’re set to begin our next contract negotiations.

Since our first union contract, the School of Jazz has continued to grow and thrive, has continued to enhance its reputation as one the world’s premier jazz conservatories, and has consistently generated a profit for the New School’s bottom line. All of this while providing fair wages, health benefits, pension payments and job security for its part-time faculty.

The success and prominence of the School of Jazz’s former students and alumni speaks to the school’s stellar reputation and to its faculty’s excellence. Many former students and alumni are now established major artists and are Grammy nominees or winners — among them Jazzmeia Horn, Becca Stevens, Brad Mehldau, Keyon Harrold, Larry Goldings, Cécile McLorin Salvant, James Francies, Greg Kurstin and Chris Potter. We part-time faculty are the heart and soul of the school and are the foundation upon which this reputation and excellence are built.

Central to these upcoming negotiations are the part-time faculty’s deep commitment to the artistic and cultural traditions that we’re charged with passing on to our students — as well as our profound dedication to our students’ education and artistic growth. Fostering a workplace where the faculty are valued as highly skilled and dedicated artists and professionals is essential to achieving the best possible education for the New School’s students.

The School of Jazz’s part-time faculty are united in our hope that our long record of success and dedication to our students — and to the musical traditions we serve — will continue to provide the foundation for a contract which will further improve on the part-time faculty’s and the New School’s many years of success and cooperation.

— Junko Arita, David Lopato, Arun Luthra, Diane Moser and Gene Perla*

*These dedicated Local 802 members serve as the shop stewards of the New School’s School of Jazz and Contemporary Music’s part-time faculty bargaining unit. (For their bios, please visit,,, and

We asked some New School teaching artists to reflect on what they’ve learned. Get inspired by their answers by clicking here.