Listening to our members’ voices

Oganizing Matters

Volume 118, No. 12December, 2018

Joy Winkler

Joy Winkler is the director of organizing and field services. If you’re playing a job that you would like to be covered under a union contract, contact Joy at (212) 245-4802, ext. 157. You can also call the Local 802 hotline anonymously at (212) 245-4802, ext. 260 to report a job or working situation.

Hello Local 802 musicians! I am so honored to be part of your union and to be working alongside you to make New York a place that values musicians with fair pay, benefits and good working conditions. I am fairly new to the local, but I know that many of you have been part of this union for years and I am eager to meet and hear from you!

In case I haven’t had a chance to meet you yet in person, let me introduce myself. In May, I started as the director of organizing and field services. When I was a student, I trained as a vocalist and pianist throughout my childhood and through college earning a minor in music. My training was primarily classical and opera, but I have always had a love for musical theater. Instead of becoming a professional musician, though, I took a different path and have spent my career as an organizer. I am honored to have had impactful opportunities to develop this skillset that I now bring with me to Local 802.

The members of Local 802 are a diverse bunch of the world’s greatest musicians. Listening to their voices is crucial to the future of the union. Pictured above are a sampling of members who have joined (or re-joined) the union recently. Top row: Arielle Legere, Abdullah B. Rahman, Victoria Theodore and Matt Wong. Bottom row: Jersey Sullivan, Lena Gabrielle and Richard Scott.

December marks my sixth month on the job here. It has been a whirlwind of a learning curve and I am grateful to the members, staff and leadership who have been part of my introduction to this union. I am still early in the process of conceptualizing how the union will build power that is strong enough to stand up to the growing multi-billion-dollar music industry while supporting and preserving the small venues and emerging musicians that comprise the New York music community. Luckily, I’m not alone in this challenge and I look forward to your experience and insights as we collaborate on how to build on the successes of the past and create winning strategies for the new challenges we face together.

Local 802 has a long history that predates me and as I settle in to my work here, I plan to ask a lot of questions. To start, I am exploring questions about the membership’s relationship with the union. Where are the opportunities for meaningful engagement from members? What does “meaningful member engagement” even mean in the context of our Local? How are members’ voices heard within the union?

And here is where I turn to you and seek your insight. Where has the local encouraged your participation within the union? For example, maybe you’ve served on committees or helped negotiate collective bargaining agreements or perhaps there’s something that I haven’t even mentioned yet! How could you envision being connected to the work and direction of the union going forward? What do you want me to know about what has worked in the past and what you would want to see going forward to ensure that Local 802 is making room for meaningful member engagement?

Let me know your thoughts by going to Thanks, in advance, for your insights!