Let’s Hit the Ground Running

Music And Politics

Volume CVII, No. 3March, 2007

Julia Smith

I’d like to introduce myself as the new political action and public relations director for Local 802. Thank you to all the staff and members who have welcomed me so warmly. I am particularly grateful for all those who have taken the time to talk to me about the challenges we face and hopes for our future. I aspire to be a part of making 802 a stronger and more effective advocate for you, the membership.

I’d like to share with you some of my thoughts about building our political program.

Firstly, I’d like to set and achieve concrete political goals at the local, state and federal level that increase our bargaining power in negotiations and aid our organizing efforts. With elected officials in our corner, we can get beneficial bills passed, negotiate better contracts, organize more successfully, and support our membership more thoroughly.

To this end, I have met with relevant elected officials to talk to them about our upcoming Broadway negotiations. I am optimistic that if the negotiations were to turn into a public war, we would be able to count on the support of a number of important elected officials.

Together with the Recording Department and with the oversight of the Recording Musicians’ Committee, we have begun an effort to create more film scoring and music prep work for members. We have established a relationship with the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, which markets New York City as a site for film and television production and facilitates production and post-production work for those companies that film in New York. And we are exploring the idea of a city- or state-wide post-production tax credit, which could serve as an additional incentive for doing film and television scoring in New York.

I have already had a productive meeting with Representative Jerry Nadler’s district director to discuss the airline instrument carry-on problem. (The union sent a high-level delegation: President Landolfi, Vice President Dennison, longtime member Mitch Froham, and Jimmy Owens, the Jazz Advisory Committee liaison to 802’s Executive Board.)

As the number-two Democrat on the transportation committee, Representative Nadler is well positioned to work with 802 on this problem.

Representative John Hall, another Democratic member of the Transportation Committee and an 802 member, is on board to work on this issue as well. Hall was tapped to work on the issue by both President Landolfi and AFM President Tom Lee.

Secondly, I’d like to get members more involved in political action.

We need you to help craft Local 802’s political agenda, lobby elected officials, screen candidates for endorsement, participate in decision-making about political contributions and mobilize volunteers for political campaigns.

To this end, I invite all members interested in being a part of a member political action committee to contact me. Or call me anytime to talk about 802 politics or public relations.

My number is (212) 245-4802, ext. 176.