Members Party Retains Strong Majority In Vigorously Contested 802 Election

Volume CI, No. 1January, 2001

Joy Portugal

Local 802’s triennial elections brought almost 1,500 members to the polls this year. With the local’s three fulltime officers – President Bill Moriarity, Recording Vice-President Erwin Price and Financial Vice-President Tina Hafemeister – unopposed in their campaigns for reelection on the Members Party slate, interest focused on a hotly-contested election for Executive Board.

When the ballots were counted, all but one Members Party candidate had won election to the nine-member Executive Board, along with former Vice-President Mary Landolfi, who polled the sixth highest vote. All eight Members Party candidates for Trial Board won election, as did independent candidate Marcus Rojas, with the seventh highest vote.

The election was conducted by the American Arbitration Association, which oversaw the mailing of absentee ballots and then the in-person voting held at Local 802’s offices in Manhattan and Hicksville, Long Island, on Dec. 5. A total of 1,474 votes were cast.

The union received almost 1,200 requests for absentee ballots. Of these, 810 were returned by the 5 p.m. deadline on Dec. 5. Another 664 members voted in person: 648 at 802’s headquarters on 48th Street, and 16 at the Hicksville office.

The lines had been drawn for this year’s election last June, when a bylaw resolution aimed at dropping slates from the 802 ballot was brought before a membership meeting. Proponents argued that its passage would democratize union leadership by eliminating “one-party government” of Local 802. Opponents noted that the introduction of slate voting by the reform administration that took office in 1983 was designed to make it easier to defeat incumbents.

Interest in the issue drew a quorum to the June 20 membership meeting, for only the third time in six years, and the resolution was adopted. (See the July/August 2000 issue.)

A sharp debate over the union’s governance continued throughout the summer and fall. A series of newsletters were published by Counterpoint, a group of musicians who argued for the need for changes in Local 802’s leadership and direction, and by the Members Party, which expressed pride in its record and pledged to continue its efforts on behalf of musicians. Both groups utilized direct mailings to members, paid ads in Allegro and a vigorous leafleting effort outside union headquarters while the vote was taking place. Allegro provided space for a statement by each candidate in the December issue.

The Members Party slate for Executive Board included Jay Blumenthal, Bill Crow, Jack Gale, Maura Giannini, Marilyn Reynolds, Bill Rohdin, Bobby Shankin, Richard Simon and Art Weiss. Counterpoint urged a vote for Katie Dennis, Sariva Goetz, Laura Oatts, Larry Rawdon, Clay Ruede, Lee Soper and Mary Whitaker, members of either its editorial or advisory boards. In addition, they endorsed Landolfi, who ran as an independent, and Members Party candidate Blumenthal.

Trial Board candidates included the Members Party slate – Eric Goletz, Al Hood, Gary Koch, Marty Lambert, Carline Ray, Michael Roberts, Andy Schwartz and Siggy Singer – and independents Lucille Goeres and Marcus Rojas. Counterpoint endorsed Goeres, Roberts, Rojas and Schwartz.