Significant developments at Local 802

Recording Vice President's report

Volume 123, No. 3March, 2023

Harvey Mars

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For my report this month, I’d like to share the update that I presented at the Feb. 22 membership meeting. During the meeting. I reported on the three primary areas for which my office is responsible: the Local 802 Building, Membership Development and Organizing, and Negotiations. As I noted during the meeting significant developments have transpired in each of these areas since my last report.

Local 802 Building

As a result of environmental forces and general wear and tear, the Eastern façade of the Local 802 building had developed significant spalling. Portions of the façade had actually fallen into the alleyway between our building and our neighboring building rendering it a serious safety hazard. We hired a construction company to remove the chipped stucco on the parapet wall and re-cement an approximately 1000 square foot area of the façade. As the pictures below reveal there is a pronounced contrast between the repaired façade and the prior chipped façade. The Local 802 building is our membership’s greatest asset, and we intend to insure that this asset is preserved for generations to come. The concrete repair is just the beginning of anticipated upgrades we hope to make to the building. I’ll report on these upgrades as they develop.



Local 802 has also installed a new fire alarm system in the building. The old system was not communicating properly with the fire department, so it had to be replaced. The new system is a substantial upgrade and has been successfully tested. Our contract with the company that installed the new system contains a full service and parts warranty so we will not have to outlay additional monies if the system breaks.

I am very happy to report that Local 802 has purchased a new baby grand piano for the club room. Our old piano had become almost impossible to tune and would have cost more to repair than to purchase a fine used piano. Our new piano is a Yamaha G2 six foot baby grand with a dehumidifier. It was previously owned by Local 802 member Gene Perla. Local 802’s old piano was given to Local 802 member Robin Petrie, who will be donating it to a public school. Like the Local 802 building itself, the clubroom is a vital part of this union. It provides a very low cost option for rehearsal space for members. Acquiring a new piano enhances the attractiveness and functionality of Local 802’s club room and benefits the membership at large. For your next rehearsal please consider renting the club room and  when you’re here, check out our new piano, photographed here in Gene Perla’s apartment:

Membership Development and Organizing

Local 802’s new Jazz Night program has been an unqualified success. So far, we have had Buster Williams, Ronnie Burrage, Rachel Z and Dick Griffin perform in the Local 802 club room to packed houses. At the conclusion of each of these performances we had an open mike jam session. Our next Jazz Night is scheduled for March 13, 2023 and the Bertha Hope trio will be performing. Local 802 Organizing Director John Pietaro has been instrumental in developing this program, which is now bringing live jazz to the community and serves as a springboard for membership development.

We are also reinitiating our relationship with the Jazz Foundation of America. The JFA had previously presented jazz jam sessions at Local 802 on a weekly basis. This ceased during the pandemic. We expect that the JFA will once again be presenting jazz jam sessions on a monthly basis beginning in the summer. This combined with the Local 802 Jazz Night program will bring live jazz performance to Local 802 at least twice a month. We hope that the jazz jam will present an opportunity for new members to join Local 802.

I am also happy to report that the Music for the Soul program has been extended though June. This program, which was spearheaded by the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation provides paid performance opportunities within New York City Hospital to Local 802 member musicians. The program has supported live performances for jazz and classical trios and quartets at single engagement scale wages between three to five times a month. Local 802 Principal Representative Todd Weeks has given exemplary service scheduling ensembles for the Music for the Soul Program. We hope that in the future The Music for the Soul Program can be expanded to provide employment for a greater amount of musicians over a longer period of time.

On February 15, 2023 I brought the Mannes School of Music’s trombone studio together with several professional trombonists such as James Ross and Mathew Melore and Mannes trombone professors Damien Austin and Nick Schwartz to play trombone choir repertoire in the Local 802 clubroom. We had a great time, and it was a great way to expose conservatory students to Local 802 and working professionals. I hope to make this a regular occurrence.

Negotiations Update

DCINY: Unfortunately, federal mediation between Local 802 and Distinguished Concerts International New York failed due to DCINY’s refusal to move from its bargaining position. As a result, the DCINY bargaining unit resoundingly voted in favor of authorizing a strike. Shortly after the strike authorization vote, the negotiation committee and Local 802 announced that it would be striking against DCINY. We held a successful rally that was attended by Senator Jessica Ramos, the chair of the NYS Senate Labor Committee as well as NYC Council member Gale Brewer and ACT-UAW Local 7910 officials. We intend to picket DCINY’s next performance at Carnegie Hall on March 18, 2023. Please join us! More details are on the way, but click here to RSVP.

With respect to the pending unfair labor practice charges Local 802 had filed against DCINY, on February 23, 2023 NLRB Region 2 notified us that there has been sufficient evidence presented for it to issue a complaint against DCINY on the ground that it had illegally negotiated directly with musicians over the terms and conditions of their employment and thereby circumvented the musicians’ chosen bargaining agent: Local 802 AFM. By so doing DCINY engaged in bad faith bargaining in violation of the National Labor Relations Act.

Region 2 also notified Local 802 that it would be dismissing those portions of the unfair labor practice charge that alleged that DCINY had violated accepted hiring practices and illegally withheld information Local 802 required in order to formulate bargaining proposals. Local 802 has filed an appeal with the NLRB’s Office of Appeals protesting the Region’s decision to dismiss these portions of the unfair labor practice charge.

Jazz Faculty at the New Schools School of Jazz and Contemporary Music: We started negotiation with the New School for the jazz adjunct faculty bargaining unit that Local 802 represents. ACT-UAW Local 7910 recently concluded a month long strike on behalf of school adjunct faculty in other school programs. As a result of that strike, their bargaining unit achieved landmark gains. The jazz faculty engaged in a sympathy strike in support of the UAW and the school was effectively closed. During our initial bargaining session, Local 802 made it clear that it expected parity with the UAW contract. As these negotiations develop, the UAW has made it clear that it will support us and stand by the jazz faculty in every way it can. We expect to achieve gains comparable to those achieved by the UAW.

Club Date Employers: We are close to concluding negotiations with the club date employers who are signatory to Local 802’s single engagement club date agreement. At present the employers have agreed to increases that are in the 4 and 5 percent range as well as significant increases in travel pay, mileage and per diem for each of three years. Finally, the employers have agreed to eliminate the discounted health benefit contribution rate for a uniform per service rate. We expect that negotiations will conclude at our next bargaining session. Local 802 Senior Business Rep Pete Voccola has been conferring with club date musicians to keep them abreast of developments with this negotiation as well as the status of the proposals.

Amateur Night at the Apollo: We have just commenced negotiations with the Apollo Theatre for the musicians performing in the amateur night band. In addition to increases in benefits and wages, Local 802 is seeking compensation to the musicians for any live streaming of their performance that is released by the Apollo.

Internal Employee Bargaining Units: We are very happy to report that Local 802 has successfully concluded negotiations with its two internal employee bargaining units. We are all grateful and proud of the work our employees perform for our membership and believe that these agreements reflect that gratitude.    

In my upcoming reports I will be giving updates to all the issues I have presented in this months report. Hope to see all of you at our next membership meeting if not sooner.

LEGAL UPDATE: I’d also like to report on some recent legal developments, and therefore I am resurrecting my legal column this month (click here).