Local 802 is taking to the streets in what is an initial step toward renewed organizing in the club date field.
Beginning in late October and through November, about a dozen organizers, business reps and Club Date Organizing Committee members will visit more than 50 venues in Manhattan and Long Island.
The purpose of the blitz is to identify possible organizing targets by gathering information about club date employers, ensure contract compliance, create an increased union presence in the field and disseminate information about the benefits of union membership.
An increase in nonunion employers and subcontractors (especially among those musicians performing ceremonies and preheats — commonly called string musicians), along with the input of many musicians working in the field, prompted the Organizing and Contract Administration departments to convene a Club Date Organizing Committee.
One of the issues discussed during the first three meetings were problems of nonunion string ensembles working for union and nonunion club date employers, likely organizing targets, and the need to involve as many musicians as possible.
Committee members volunteered for various assignments to gather information about subcontractors and employers undercutting area standards.
One important tool in organizing in this important field is literature. To get Local 802’s message out, a series of four laminated cards, each describing various union benefits, will be handed out during the blitz, and field personnel will talk to as many musicians as possible about the benefits of working under a union contract.
Members working for nonunion offices are urged to call the Organizing Department and report engagements. All calls are confidential.