The Musicians’ Voice

Volume CVII, No. 3March, 2007

The Musicians’ Voice is an open forum for discussion about the state of union affairs. The views expressed here do not express the views of Local 802. Letters must be 300 words or less. Send them to Allegro, c/o Local 802, 322 West 48th Street, New York, NY 10036, or e-mail Mikael Elsila, the editor, at


To the Editor:

The last step in the writing process is to examine the words with an eye toward removing parts which tend to undermine the writer’s point. With the serious nature of the long term corporate attack on pensions, I should have known better than to engage in political hyperbole in my essay entitled “The New War On Workers” which appeared in the January Allegro. To those members who took offense — especially Richard Sortomme — I do sincerely apologize.

Although the essay was originally written for a different publication than the 802 paper, that is no excuse for not editing further. The essay was not written “on the clock” for 802. The facts that it discusses — the decline from two-thirds of working Americans being in defined benefit pensions as recently as the 1980’s compared to fewer than one third today, and the failure of labor law enforcement to protect a worker’s right to organize and bargain for pensions that further undermines pension security — can seem rather dull points of economics and do not seem pressing and urgent matters. Perhaps my hyperbole for emphasis has done more harm than good. For that I apologize — as well to those who take the pension issues therein seriously but took no offense to its political overtones.

My intention is to inform the membership about matters of import to their interests. I fell victim to the temptation to inflame, a cheap trick undermining the seriousness of the issue.

–Joel LeFevre

To the Editor:

Regarding Richard Sortomme’s letter in the February Allegro: Mr. Sortomme is confused. Free speech forbids the perilous use of the word “fire” — not “fascism.” The apology “to our entire union” should come from those who represent management while sitting on the union side of the table.

–Tony Posk