The Musicians’ Voice

Volume CII, No. 11November, 2002


To the Editor:

While performing at a recent fundraising event for H. Carl McCall and Dennis Mehiel, the Democratic candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor of New York State, several Local 802 musicians were treated to a sincere display of appreciation from the two guests of honor. Our group, which also includes Madeline Kole, Steve Shelto and Richard Iacona, was engaged to play background music for the several hundred supporters in attendance at the ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Hotel.

As we were playing, Mr. Mehiel came to the microphone and thanked our band and Local 802 for our participation in the evening’s program. A while later, as Mr. McCall was about to leave the party, he took the time to walk across the ballroom and thank each of us individually. Our group is proud to have represented Local 802 in support of candidates who appreciate the efforts of performing artists and who will hopefully continue to represent our interests in matters that are important to us.

–Bruce Bonvissuto


To the Editor:

On Sept. 29, Local 802 conducted a MEMO training for officers and musicians of New Jersey locals, sponsored by the AFM New Jersey State Conference. It was initiated by Conference President Laura Paulman and myself after we attended a similar training at Local 802. We thought it would be of benefit to the conference, and our hopes were more than fulfilled.

MEMO stands for Membership Education and Mobilization for Organizing. It is a seminar promoted by the AFL-CIO that speaks to the urgent need of unions to organize. The program also uses creative games and discussion to show why unions are needed in the first place. Local 802 offers the class frequently to its members. This is the first time the union gave the program to an outside group.

Most of the New Jersey locals were represented, and the assembled 13 attendees represented approximately 400 years of collective membership in the AFM. The MEMO training was conducted by Financial Vice-President Tina Hafemeister and Assistant Director David Lennon.

The issues presented, such as concerted action, collective bargaining, organizing and the connection between the fortunes of the labor movement and fate of American working people, have no generational boundaries. There were people in attendance who have lived through the decline of the labor movement in this country, and for them the issues discussed seemed all the more real and stimulating. Everyone became engaged in the process.

There is a common ground in these issues that promoted a degree of unanimity of purpose unlike any I have witnessed in my term as secretary of the conference. What I saw were 13 individuals from diverse backgrounds and philosophies trying to come up with answers and devoting time and thought and relating their own personal experiences to the issues at hand. For this I would like to publicly thank Local 802, Tina Hafemeister and David Lennon on behalf of the New Jersey State Conference for a great presentation and a stimulating and informative experience.

–David Schneck

(If you would like to attend Local 802’s next MEMO program, call Financial Vice-President Tina Hafemeister at ext. 119.)