There has never been a more important nor opportune time to join Local 802. Beginning April 1 the union is conducting a three-month membership drive during which time both the local’s and the AFM’s initiation fees will be waived. Prospective members can join simply by beginning to pay annual dues, a savings of $100.
For former members, the local’s re-entry fees are also being waived, so they can also join by simply paying annual dues.
Over the past several years Local 802 has been engaged in a number of important and high profile efforts to improve the lives and livelihoods of New York’s professional musicians. From saving live orchestras on Broadway to defending the rights of downtown recording musicians, the union has increasingly become the organization that musicians call upon to help preserve their jobs and protect their music.
“Local 802 has been a leader in protecting the artistic integrity of live musical performance. In 2003, Broadway musicians stopped the effort to replace live music on Broadway with virtual orchestra machines and since then the union has been fighting to prevent the machine’s use elsewhere,” said Local 802 president David Lennon. “In the past year, Local 802 has waged an aggressive campaign against the elimination of live music with virtual orchestra machines, achieving over thirty contracts with employers and theatre owners banning the machine. Our public relations initiatives have included radio and print media ads highlighting the importance of live music to New York City and its economy. Those efforts will continue and be expanded in the coming years.”
The union’s ability to accomplish these and other goals ultimately depends upon the support and solidarity of its membership.
“Every single new and returning member strengthens our ability to speak for and represent New York’s professional musical artists,” Jay Blumenthal, the union’s financial vice president, told Allegro. “In dealing with today’s larger corporate employers and the increasingly difficult work environment we face, it is important that our union membership keep pace.”
Local 802 maintains a staff of union representatives and organizers who work to insure that employers pay negotiated or promulgated wage rates and benefits. And because professional musicians often work in a wide variety of fields, the union has worked hard to extend contract coverage to a wider range of performance fields as well as teaching work.
Working with our pension fund, Local 802 has helped to develop new contract forms that allow musicians to cover more of their work under union agreements, making both pension and health benefits available to many more musicians.
“Today union membership can mean access to these extremely important benefits,” said Recording Vice President Bill Dennison. “No matter where or how you are trying to earn a living in the music business, it is a good time to join the union and find out how organized musicians can work to improve their lives.”
To join the union at a discount, simply go to the second floor of 802’s building at 322 West 48th Street and apply at the Membership Department.