I want to thank everyone for once again putting their faith in me as we begin a new era at Local 802. It takes courage and dedication to run for office, and I commend everyone who wanted to be involved in our union by making the decision to serve. As president, it is my job to represent all of the musicians in our union. One thing has become very clear over the last several months: the COVID-19 crisis is far from over and it will require everyone in elected leadership, in addition to active rank and file members, to find ways to come together for the benefit of our union and the musicians we represent. We must work together as we emerge from this pandemic.
I once wrote that as different as the music we perform may be, we are unified as artists and professionals. Local 802’s representative structure brings us all together and gives us the collective strength we need to be successful. The local negotiates and administers an array of collective bargaining agreements that are specifically tailored to the needs and standards of the musicians (and work) that they cover. This range of specific agreements for such different artistic and industrial models would not be possible, let alone effective, if it were not for this local’s committee system, the life-blood of a union like Local 802.
Fair hiring practices have long been a focus of our collective bargaining and we must continue to push for further refinement of those practices to protect opportunities for advancement and job security for all musicians.
There are certain sectors of our work where even the fundamental right to union representation has been denied to musicians. This is especially problematic among freelance musicians who work for certain types of employers and find themselves without a clear path to union membership. It is time for us to explore new contract models that will open a path to membership for these musicians who have been under-represented for far too long. This can be done in a way that will not undermine our existing contracts.
The past 19 months have sorely tested us, as musicians and as a union. Now is the time to reinvest ourselves in the strength of our union and our bonds with one another. I believe we will emerge from this crisis stronger by working together to grow, protect, diversify and rebuild Local 802 in the next three years. We will need creative vision and dedication to our shared cause. I am looking forward to working again for you and with you to create a safe and prosperous future for all NYC musicians.
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