Minor decrease does not indicate any long-term issues

Financial Vice President's Report

Volume 113, No. 11December, 2013

Tom Olcott

Local 802’s audited financial statements for the first six months of 2013 appear in the printed issue of Allegro. These statements are not designed to track Local 802’s actual budget, but instead form a snapshot. This particular snapshot shows modest decreases in dues revenue and similarly modest increases in expenses. While that is not a trend anyone likes to see, the discrepancies represent a very small percentage of Local 802’s assets.

Moreover, as Controller Cathy Camiolo notes in her report, the main source of these negative numbers is non-recurring, unusual repairs to Local 802’s plumbing as well as long-overdue air conditioning duct maintenance. We also experienced some unrealized losses in various investments. That last trend will most likely reverse because of the stock market rise in the second half of this year.

On a brighter note, net assets have risen. Also, the second half of each year yields greater dues income, as the end-of-year holidays kick in. (Think of all the church jobs, the “Nutcrackers,” and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.)

I think it’s important to note that this report should not excite any panic out there. Local 802 is not in any danger over any measurable term. Our music, our members, and our union are not shuffling out the door, and we see no serious erosion of our basic structure.

What do we need to think about? Here are two ideas:

  • Encourage your younger colleagues to join the union. Talk to your students and any new faces. If you have friends who’ve dropped out of the union, tell them to rejoin. To all of these musicians, emphasize that union membership will enhance their lifetime careers in music.
  • Let all younger musicians know that a consultation with Local 802 is not a dangerous encounter. Instead, it might be their toehold into a realistic professional life. If you’re new to the union, we want you to know that we have an excellent track record in helping musicians win the wages and benefits they deserve, while protecting your identity and your job.

As I present these numbers and advice, I have to note that most Local 802 musicians live in a professional music world that has been hit hard by the recession. In any downturn, the arts are always the first sector to feel the pain and the last to recover. For many members, that is the unfortunate reality. That said, my job is to examine Local 802’s financial health and to provide the best and most straightforward analysis of what I see. I am happy to say that despite the recession and the slow recovery, Local 802 is in good shape. And if we are in good shape, we will always be able to provide dedicated service to our members. That is always our pledge. Hang in there everyone. Best to all.

P.S. In the printed issue, you’ll also see the financial report for the union’s Emergency Relief Fund. Please keep in mind that Local 802’s finances are completely separate from the Emergency Relief Fund as well as from the Local 802 Health Benefits Fund and the AFM Pension Fund.