As we celebrate the start of Labor History Month, our administration is entering our fifth month of office and we’ve been working around the clock to get the union back on track and re-staff our building. So far in 2022, we’ve been able to re-hire Maureen Cupid, Major Little, Cassandra Palacio and Steve Singer. (In 2021, we re-hired Alex Blake, Rachel Chu, Denise Rodriques, Debbie Shew and Pete Voccola). We’re now in the process of hiring an I.T. director, an assistant to the financial vice president, an organizer and an Off Broadway theatre rep, with more new openings on the way. All of this means you should experience a more efficient union and quicker responses to your questions. Members who want to reach Local 802 can browse our staff directory here.
On the Executive Board, we had two resignations that we recently filled. Caryl Paisner and Adam Krauthamer both left the board, and the board has appointed the following people to serve the remainder of the term: Julia DeRosa and Jessica Phillips. Please read our statement welcoming these two new board members.
The re-opening of our rehearsal space has been a success and it’s been gratifying to hear the sound of live music coming from the union again. I’m pleased to announce that our Room B rehearsal space is now available as well. To book the club room or Room B for a rehearsal or meeting, click here. We are almost ready to announce the installation of a smart TV in the club room that will allow our members to run Zoom meetings. We’re also on the verge of opening up the second floor of the union building so members can pick up their recording checks in person again. When this happens, Local 802 will inform you when you have a check ready to pick up (click here for details).
Local 802 is pleased to announce that our familiar membership portal is back online after a gap of almost a year. As many members know, Local 802 had attempted a new membership portal during the previous administration, but unfortunately the new system was fraught with delays, bugs and missing features. Therefore, the officers of Local 802 decided to re-launch our original portal, which many of you will remember. To visit the portal and learn more, click here.
STATEMENT ON ABORTION RIGHTS
The officers of Local 802 released a statement on May 3, 2022 in the aftermath of the leaked news of a Supreme Court initial draft majority opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade. The officers said: “We are sickened that the Supreme Court may be eliminating the constitutionally protected right to have an abortion. Freedom over our own bodies is a fundamental human right, and that includes the choice of whether or not to continue a pregnancy. Abortions should be safe, legal, affordable and accessible.”
BROADWAY AND OTHER NEGOTIATIONS
Local 802 has recently concluded negotiations for an update to the Broadway Covid safety protocols, which we’ll post on our website soon. For the moment, Broadway audiences are still required to be masked. Some Broadway theatres are still requiring vaccinations and some are not; the Broadway League has posted details here. In general, we’re trying to negotiate the safest balance for our musicians and fellow Broadway artists as well as our audiences. Here at Local 802, we are requiring masks for members who rent our Club Room for rehearsals or meetings (unless you’re actively singing or playing a wind instrument).
Now that we negotiated the Covid protocols, we are scheduling dates to meet with the Broadway League over the main Broadway agreement. I’m also involved in several other bargaining talks, including New York City Center and a first-ever agreement with ABT covering the rehearsal pianists.
Recording Vice President Harvey Mars is leading the DCINY negotiations; that orchestra is still fighting for a fair contract, and Local 802 recently filed a second Unfair Labor Practice charge against the company for failing to provide information that’s relevant for bargaining. Read our DCINY update here. To round out our efforts, Karen Fisher is working on freelance classical ensembles and Local 802 just promulgated our new opera and ballet scales. Between the three of us, we’re burning the candle at both ends to get fair deals on behalf of our members.
JACK GALE (1936-2022)
We lost one of the bright lights of Local 802 on March 16, when Jack Gale passed away at the age of 85 after being a member of Local 802 since 1961. Jack was a brilliant trombonist, composer, arranger and music educator, and he was one of my earliest mentors at the union. As previously reported in Allegro, Jack helped the Members Party win the 1982 elections, which heralded a new era for the union. He served on numerous committees, was president of the New York RMA, and was elected to the Local 802 Executive Board for 18 years. Against the odds, he convinced the union to buy its present building, a decision that many felt saved the union financially and also helped us create a strong community and identity. He was a true visionary, and all of us at Local 802 owe Jack a debt of gratitude. Read our tribute page to Jack Gale here.
A UNION GIG STARTS WITH OUR MEMBERS
As Allegro goes to press, we’re working with Ron Carter to make sure his musicians are paid union wages and benefits for his 85th birthday celebration at Carnegie Hall on May 10. We’re sorry that the same can’t be said for a recent nonunion Josh Groban gig at Radio City Music Hall; if we had been given enough advance notice from our members who were playing the gig, we could have helped musicians earn union wages, benefits, recording protections and much more. If you get called to play a concert at a major venue, we want to make sure that you’re earning the union wages and benefits that you deserve. Feel free to make a confidential call (or e-mail) to the union’s hotline to give us the chance to help you. Making sure that each gig is union is a responsibility that all of us share together.
- We had some success in the recently-enacted New York State budget. Our efforts with the New York State AFL-CIO and other allies brought about an upgrade to the state’s COBRA subsidy program. What this means is that if you lose your Local 802 health coverage, the state may subsidize 75 percent of the cost of keeping on our plan. Restrictions apply. Read more about this new subsidy here.
- The state also decided to keep the post-production tax credit for eligible film and TV producers. We’ve always supported this tax break in order to attract more work for our members.
- Finally, the Music Workers Alliance worked with State Senator Brad Hoylman and other allies to win an expansion of the New York State COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program as well as a new “seed money” program. We haven’t reported on this yet, because we’re still not sure how many of our members would qualify for aid through either of these programs, which define musicians as “independent arts contractors.” (The state still hasn’t updated its Web site to define exactly who qualifies as an “independent arts contractor,” and the new seed money program appears to only apply to musical organizations that were formed in the past two years). If you obtain aid through this program, please e-mail us and let us know so we know if this program is helpful to our members.
- Most musicians know that the most recent federal tax reform bill eliminated the ability of entertainment workers to deduct common work expenses. The AFM is partnering with other entertainment groups to restore tax fairness. Please learn more about the campaign and lend your support.
- The Louis Armstrong Center is sponsoring a free intro to music therapy for our members. If you’ve ever been interested in this field, now is your chance to learn more. Register for the Zoom here.
- The next Local 802 membership meeting is in-person at Local 802 on Wednesday, June 8 at 5 p.m.
- The Social Engagement Team recently held a successful in-person gathering at the Skylark bar. This is a great opportunity for fellow Local 802 members to do some networking and hanging out. Keep in touch with the Social Engagement Team here.