Musicians who play for Nafshenu Orchestras will soon receive pension, health and other union benefits. On July 18, the employer voluntarily recognized Local 802 and signed on to the new Jewish Club Date Agreement, which was being negotiated as this issue went to press.
The Jewish Club Date agreement governs club dates in the Jewish Orthodox field – mainly weddings and bar and bat mitzvahs on Long Island and in Queens and Brooklyn for Orthodox clients. The old agreement expired on July 31.
After several informative meetings with 802 Director of Organizing Joe Eisman and Long Island Senior Rep Peter Voccola, the company’s owners, Aaron Applebaum and Jonathan Rimberg, decided to voluntarily recognize 802.
“We explained the advantages for both the agency and its musicians of providing pension and health benefits,” Eisman told Allegro. “Applebaum and Rimberg knew this was the right thing to do, and they also knew that their musicians really wanted this. Now these musicians will be able to earn pension and health contributions every time they play with Nafshenu.”
“This is the first new Jewish club date signatory in many years,” said Voccola, 802’s Long Island representative. “It’s important because Nafshenu is an up-and-coming orchestra and we want them to compete on a level, union playing field. They took the high road and we were able to avoid a knock-down campaign. It’s good for everyone.”
“They’re doing the right thing; they’re looking after us and realizing the value of good musicians,” said saxophonist Mike Cohen, who has performed with Nafshenu.
“It’s inspiring when leaders like Jonathan and Aaron understand the magnitude of these benefits and how they are going to help the musicians,” said Bruce Eidem, a trombonist who was an original member of Nafshenu and is a regular now. “These benefits are going to help not just now, but also for years to come.”
Musicians who play for Nafshenu and have questions can call Peter Voccola at (516) 935-6250.