Judy West, director of Public Relations and Legislative Affairs for Local 802 since 1983, retired at the beginning of this month.
When the Glasel administration took office, one of its first acts was to establish a department of public relations, with the goal of educating the public and the membership about 802’s place in the music industry. Up until that point, newspapers had tended to parrot the management point of view during negotiations. When there were strikes, management misstatements about musicians went unrefuted.
Nor was there any awareness in previous 802 administrations that anything could be done at the local, state or national level to address the problems of working musicians through legislative action. Little attention had been paid to building bridges between Local 802 and other unions. West – an activist in labor, civil rights and tenant movements, with a strong background in the advertising industry – has played an important role in correcting all these situations.
Early in the Glasel administration she helped to revamp Allegro into a highly-regarded labor/activist journal. As Business Manager, she placed great emphasis on selling advertising in Allegro, and ad revenue now covers a significant portion of production costs.
She was the driving force behind the formation of Unions for the Performing Arts, a coalition of unions representing artists and workers in the entertainment field. Legislation that UPA developed and lobbied to pass has benefited members of all the unions represented in the coalition.
“Judy has built strong relationships with elected officials who could be of help to our cause, and made sure she had their ear when we needed them,” said President Bill Moriarity. “She has also encouraged the local to give them the support they needed.
“Her work in so many areas has made important contributions to the union. On behalf of 802 members, officers and staff, I want to express our gratitude and good wishes.”