Solidarity keeps us strong
Volume 122, No. 6June, 2022
As many of you already know, the AFM community suffered a horrible loss when Pat Varriale was killed in a car accident on May 13. Pat served as the director of the Electronic Media Services Division as well as assistant to AFM President Ray Hair. He was a fixture at the AFM for almost 50 years and he taught me everything I know about the recording industry. He was a true advocate for union musicians, a great friend, and I will miss him dearly. I’d like to share the tribute that was posted by the AFM:
Pat worked to improve the lives of musicians throughout the U.S. and Canada. There are hundreds of thousands of musicians who do not know Pat by name, but his work enabled them to receive the money they deserved for their electronic media recordings and performances. His decades of dedication, diligence, care, determination, and doggedness to protect our members and get them paid was unmatched. We are indebted to his wife, Patricia, and his son, Nick, who shared Pat with us for nearly 50 years. We are all better for it. We will all miss him more than words can express.
The family also shared the following:
Aside from being devoted to his family, Pat was dedicated to his 48-year career and his work family, who he held very dear and close to his heart. Besides being a steadfast Yankees fan,
Pat enjoyed traveling with his family and a good long crossword puzzle. He was known for his sense of humor and was a kind and soft-spoken gentleman who was proud to share his love and passion for music and musicians with everyone he knew near and far. To know him was to love him…he will be forever missed.
Besides his wife and son, Pat is also survived by his daughter-in-law Alina and grandchildren Owen and Mila, as well as his brothers, sister, sisters-in-law and many nieces and nephews.
Please read the AFM’s complete coverage here and here.
STANDING UP FOR A FAIR CONTRACT
A for-profit company called DCINY is holding concerts at Carnegie Hall and is NOT offering its own musicians professional employment standards, including health benefits, retirement payments, recording or streaming payments, proper rest breaks, job security…and more. Worse, they are attempting to replace a full orchestra — who have played this gig for 10 years — with just a handful of musicians and even with an amateur high school ensemble. Now the orchestra is essentially locked out and is fighting for a fair contract. NYC is the cultural capital of the world, and NYC audiences deserve the very best. If a full, professional orchestra is replaced, then audiences suffer. And if this can happen at Carnegie Hall, it can happen anywhere. Don’t let it happen! Join us at a musical rally on Monday, June 6 from 6pm to 7pm in front of Carnegie Hall. Learn more at www.local802afm.org/events
In addition to our work with the DCINY orchestra (as mentioned above) Local 802 is continuing our efforts to help Jon Batiste’s musicians achieve a fair contract for his “American Symphony.” We also have an eye on casino musicians, and we’ve just hired an organizing director. Our priority is to put organizing on the front burner again. Please read Harvey Mars’ column in this issue of Allegro for more organizing news.
LOCAL 802 MEMBERSHIP MEETING
Our June 8th membership meeting will take place on Zoom, not in person. Though we continue to re-open our building as air circulation and exchange rates are made acceptable, we feel it is prudent to hold our June 8 membership meeting on Zoom instead of in person because of the number of attendees we expect and the current surge of Covid in New York City.
Some important things to know:
- The agenda includes a bylaw resolutionand officer reports.
- You must be an active, paid-up member to attend.
- Before attending the meeting, please check your membership status at our membership portal and pay your dues.
- This is a virtual meeting only.
- When you register for the meeting, we’ll check your membership status. If you’re an active member, you’ll receive the Zoom link in a separate e-mail. IMPORTANT: The meeting link is confidential. If you forward the link to anyone else, you are subject to removal from the meeting.
- In order to vote on the bylaw resolution, we need a quorum of 95 members.
- Click here to register for the meeting and receive the Zoom link.
LOCAL 802 FINANCES
We recently finished our annual financial audit and I’m pleased to report to you that Local 802 achieved a surplus of $860,669 in 2021. The audited financial statements and Financial Vice President Karen Fisher’s report are both here in this issue of Allegro. As Karen reports, we were able to achieve this surplus by both reducing our expenses as well as receiving about $1.15 million in Covid assistance from the government, including Payroll Protection Program forgiveness and payroll retention credit. We can thank the Biden administration and our allies in Congress (like Senator Chuck Schumer) for passing the America Rescue Plan and other legislation that allowed organizations like ours to survive the pandemic. But, as Karen writes, we are not out of the woods yet. Membership is not yet back to pre-Covid numbers, nor is work 100 percent back. Even though I am committed to fully re-staffing our union, we are watching our finances carefully and are going to proceed smartly and strategically. For instance, we welcomed back Steve Dannenberg last month as our Music Prep advisor, but Steve will be working for us part time as a consultant. You can see our current staff list on our Web site here, and you can see our current job openings here at UnionJobs.com (search for “Local 802”). The union continues to open slowly as our staffing permits. Right now, the Club Room and Room B are open for rentals, and the recording checks window is open to members. As soon as the rest of the building is open, we’ll let you know.
We continue to negotiate with the Broadway League over our next Broadway agreement. We have come to an agreement on new health & safety protocols (including Covid), and we’ve posted those protocols on our membership portal under the SCALE SHEETS tab. In related news, the League has extended the mask mandate for audiences through at least June 30.
June is Pride Month and please enjoy our Pride Month stories in this issue of Allegro.
BLACK ORCHESTRAL NETWORK
June is also Black Music Month, and we recently celebrated the launch of the Black Orchestral Network, which is led in part by Local 802 member Weston Sprott. Weston is going to introduce the organization in the next issue of Allegro, but for now, I’d like to share the AFM’s recent statement of support: “The AFM supports the musicians of the Black Orchestral Network. We share their vision of a diverse, equitable, and inclusive orchestral community. We are committed to supporting the work of our symphonic musicians as they strive to make that vision a reality.” Local 802 agrees, and you can learn more at: https://www.blackorchestralnetwork.org/
FROM OUR HEARTS
We are still saddened and outraged by the May 14 racially motivated killing of 10 and wounding of three people in Buffalo. Below, I would like to add my voice to this statement from the AFL-CIO: The entire labor movement is appalled by the killing of 10 people and wounding of three by a man with racist beliefs who targeted Black people. While there’s no way to make sense of yet another racially motivated, hate-inspired attack on innocent people because of the color of their skin, it’s clear these types of mass shootings are perpetrated by those radicalized online, and we must take action. Our deepest condolences are with the family, friends, UFCW members and an entire community who are once again dealing with unfathomable pain due to one person’s racist beliefs.
I would also like to share this message from the Texas local of the American Federation of Teachers: “Tuesday, May 24, was a dark day in Texas as we faced yet another school shooting — this one taking the lives of at least 19 children and two teachers. We know every school employee across Texas is grieving with Uvalde families. We are using our Disaster Relief Fund to support the families of those who lost their lives. Nothing we do will make the Robb Elementary community whole again. But we can come together to ensure every family impacted by yesterday’s horror receives financial support to help with their healing. If you are able, please consider donating to support the school employees, students, and families dealing with a tremendous tragedy.”
The AFM International Executive Board issued a statement on gun violence tragedies that you can read here. Our hearts go out to all victims of gun violence.