Every year, the Local 802 officers and the controller meet several times to create our budget. We always consider many factors. The most important are: 1) our best assessment of the state of the business and projected dues revenues; 2) a reasonable estimation of the union’s future costs, including upcoming negotiations, organizing campaigns, public relations and legal needs, personnel costs and building maintenance; and, 3) the budget process itself: how accurate has our budget been in recent years and can we fine-tune it to be more accurate. Our primary goal is always to ensure that your money is spent responsibly and that our budget reflects the best estimation of the future. We apply our best data regarding the past and attempt to project to the future in an informed way. For a few years, our budget, produced under the above criteria, has assumed a slight loss in Local 802 revenues, and our esteemed controller, Cathy Camiolo, has diligently adjusted expenses consistently with that assumption. The results have been gratifying: Local 802 manages to over-perform each budget projection. This hasn’t led to real gains, but at least it hasn’t led to big losses. For a labor union, this has been excellent performance.
But now, I am very happy to report that for 2014, we have done more than exceed a deficit budget. Local 802 has realized a real “black ink” gain of $408,073. As members comb the actual financials in our printed issue, please note some of the following items:
- Broadway revenues are up. These drive the boat for Local 802’s revenue.
- The recording field in New York City has grown over the past year and now provides increased revenue. This is perhaps unexpected but might presage a larger growth over the next few years. Between available state tax credits for films and jingles, and more TV shows, this sector is looking hopeful.
- Local 802 has made internal building operations more efficient. At the same time, we’ve also paid good attention to necessary repairs so we’re not stuck with big bills in the future.
To sum it up, we’ve seen positive changes to our bottom line and we can say that Local 802 is stable – or even better than that. When you look at the overall national economy, our stability continues to be a form of success.
We all live in a professional music world that, to many members, seems to be declining. But consider this. When the union’s revenue increases – as it did in 2014 – it means that more musicians are working, since our income comes from work dues. We may actually be seeing the results of an improved economy. (Stay tuned on that one, of course!)
Local 802 can never immunize itself against the dips and turns of the larger economy. But as work starts to pick up for musicians, we must stay united in support of fair wages and benefits. We will always pursue and support those efforts.
The good news is that Local 802 is in good financial shape. We had a great year. We will certainly continue to be able to provide dedicated service to our members. That has always been our pledge, and these numbers confirm our real ability to continue that commitment. As we proceed, please remember that members are the union, and that our unity is our greatest strength. Best to all.
Trombonist Tom Olcott is the Financial Vice President of Local 802, and the supervisor of the union’s concert department.