Local 802 Goes Green
Volume 119, No. 5May, 2019
Green statement of support
Local 802 has passed the following green statement of support for the Broadway Green Alliance (see www.broadwaygreen.org): “Local 802 supports the important work of the Broadway Green Alliance, on Broadway and through its Off Broadway chapter, and recommends that Local 802 administration, staff, and musicians throughout the music industry foster an environment that welcomes and encourages the use of sustainable practices in their workplaces.”
New York City is arguably one of the strongest bastions of diversity, inclusivity, and progressivism in the United States. This is one of the many reasons I love living in New York. However, sometimes subconscious gaps arise between the value systems we identify with versus the things we actually do. For me personally, the most difficult reconciliation of this comes from supporting eco-friendly principles and policies, versus living in a manner that does not contribute negatively to the human impact on our global climate and local ecosystems.
Unfortunately, the current status quo of how American society is organized often makes the environmentally friendly choices in life far from the path of least resistance. This has inspired me to think of ways that I as a Broadway musician and 802 member can make a difference at a local level.
My interest in working on a Local 802 green initiative began through my involvement in the Broadway Theatre Committee. As a younger musician working on Broadway, the fact that a majority of Broadway theaters do not offer direct deposit for their musician employees has always been frustrating to me. I use online banking, and seldom use cash. So, for me, checks are a waste of paper. People I speak to about this outside of our community are often quite surprised that many Broadway musicians don’t have direct deposit.
I brought up this idea in a Theatre Committee meeting in the spring of 2018. In the dialogue that ensued, it was suggested that perhaps addressing this as a matter of reducing paper waste could be a part of a larger green initiative, and that perhaps the Broadway Green Alliance could offer advice on this matter.
In addition to saving paper by utilizing direct deposit, I also had some other ideas for how Local 802 could be more eco-friendly, so I decided to seek out advice from the Broadway Green Alliance on how to best achieve my goals.
In late May 2018, I ended up speaking with Emily Harrington and Alice Stevenson, the director and assistant director of the Broadway Green Alliance, who graciously gave their time to help advise me on my ideas. We discussed how many organizations adopt “green statements,” which are statements of intent to be good stewards of our environment. I then decided to try and draft a green statement for Local 802, with a list of goals, and look into whether or not we could adopt such a statement officially. It was also at this point that I joined on as a Green Captain representing Local 802 in the Broadway Green Alliance.
When drafting my proposed green statement and goals, all sorts of lofty ideas were coming to mind: “Maybe we could install solar panels on the roof of the 802 building!”, I thought to myself. But then I thought, “Pump the brakes, it might be wiser to start with the low-hanging fruit first…”
Some of these easier ideas to address include things such as reducing paper usage during meetings by utilizing screens and taking attendance digitally, ending the use of plastic water bottles in favor of using the water receptacles on each floor as well as reusable cups and bottles, and allowing members to opt to receive a PDF copy of Allegro by e-mail each month rather than a paper copy, for those who prefer it.
Thanks to the generous help of former Executive Board member Martha Hyde, I was able to present my green statement proposal to the 802 Executive Board in late September of 2018. The Executive Board and former 802 President Tino Gagliardi were very supportive, and recommended that a green committee be formed to discuss ways in which Local 802 and the NYC musician community can work towards a more green future.
Soon after, the newly formed 802 Green Committee began working in early October 2018. In addition to myself as facilitator, the committee consisted of former Executive Board members Wende Namkung, Chris Olness, and Bob Stuttmann, as well as 802 Senior Business Representative Marisa Friedman, who also serves as a Green Captain for Local 802.
Our initial goals included things such as: finalizing Local 802’s green statement, researching ways to help Local 802 reduce plastic bottle usage, and looking into the possibility of an option for 802 members to receive Allegro digitally by e-mail each month for those who prefer it.
Soon thereafter, Local 802 adopted a green statement of support for the Broadway Green Alliance (see box on this page). This statement links to the Broadway Green Alliance website (www.broadwaygreen.com), which has many resources for those interested in learning how they can make a difference.
After months of research and support from Recording Vice President Andy Schwartz, as well as from our current union president Adam Krauthamer, we now have new water receptacles installed on each floor of the 802 building. Additionally, the Krauthamer administration has also began using reusable water pitchers in lieu of plastic water bottles, which will hopefully save money, in addition to reducing plastic waste.
Adopting an option for 802 members to receive Allegro digitally for those who prefer it by e-mail was approved by the Gagliardi administration, and is still in the process of being developed and recertified by the current administration.
Going forward, my hope is that more Broadway musicians can be engaged in the process of helping to make environmentally friendly choices the path of least resistance in all of our lives. All Broadway shows currently have appointed Green Captains in the Broadway Green Alliance, but none of these individuals are 802 members. Perhaps we can work towards building more solidarity with our fellow non-802 Broadway community members by contributing our perspectives as musicians to this conversation. The 802 Green Committee is meant to be a vehicle for starting this conversation, as well as to hear your ideas for how we as a community of musicians can contribute positively to making our workplaces more eco-friendly.
If you would like to get involved, or if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, feel free to reach out to me by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guitarist Tom Monkell, a member of Local 802 since 2012, is the facilitator of the Local 802 Green Committee and vice chair of the Broadway Negotiating Committee.