The New York State Conference of Musicians and the North East Regional Conference held a joint session in Schenectady, N.Y., from March 23-25. In attendance as delegates from Local 802 were President Bill Moriarity, Financial Vice-President Tina Hafemeister and Recording Vice-President Erwin Price. The annual joint conference included as delegates officers from locals throughout New York State and the Northeast region, as well as officers and staff from the Federation.
Friday’s session began with a presentation by two Department of Labor investigators, Patrick Wrafter and Adriana Vamvakas. They discussed and provided literature on topics ranging from the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act and amendments to the Taft-Hartley Act through procedures to be followed in the election of local union officers.
Janice Galassi, Director of Organizing and Education for the AFM, led a session entitled “Organizing in the AFM.” Her presentation explored the differences between organizing and recruiting, and emphasized the empowerment musicians gain through the process of organizing. She also described the steps to follow in an organizing campaign, from choosing a target, forming a rank-and-file organizing committee and gaining recognition, through achieving a first contract.
In response to phone calls the Federation has received from members complaining of sexual harassment in the workplace, Florence Nelson, the AFM’s Director of Symphonic Services, outlined the legal definitions of sexual harassment and how cases should be dealt with. It was noted that the law in this field is evolving as sexual harassment cases wend their way through the courts. Ms. Nelson emphasized that, although harassment cases can be difficult to sort through, unions have a legal duty to represent both the complainant and the alleged harasser.
The day concluded with a discussion by Barbara Nielsen, AFM Executive Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff for the President, on services available to locals through the Federation, as well as obligations of the locals to the Federation. Tammy Kirk, a member of the International Executive Board and Secretary of Local 94, announced that a Youth Conference sponsored by the AFM Diversity Council will take place in June, concurrent with the AFM Convention in Las Vegas.
On Saturday morning the New York State and Northeast conferences met separately to deal with various reports and the election of officers. They met again jointly for the afternoon, a session addressed by AFM President Steve Young and Secretary-Treasurer Tom Lee . It was announced that the Federation will seek a $2 per capita dues increase at the upcoming convention to cover the actual cost of the union’s journal, International Musician. There will also be a recommendation to collect per capita dues based on the membership rolls at the end of each quarter, before members are suspended, rather than on the first day of each quarter, as is required now.
Additional reports were made by Enex Steele, Fund Manager of the Phono Special Payments Fund, MPTF Trustee Noel Berman, and Patricia Majors of the Beaver Falls, Pa., local, who spoke about achieving co-sponsorship for MPTF concerts. Honoree Berger, PR Marketing Consultant for the AFM, described various ways in which locals can promote themselves and their members.
Delegates heard reports from various committees on Sunday. A final piece of business was the passage of a resolution to the 2001 Convention of the AFM designating Robert H. “Bob” Cruthers as Executive Assistant to the President Emeritus. Both conferences agreed to meet jointly again next year.