Why 802 Needs an Activists’ Network

Volume CII, No. 1January, 2002

Local 802 Needs You!

JOIN the Local 802 activists’ network, an organization devoted to building a stronger, more effective union for all musicians

For details, call (212) 245-4802, ext. 143, or contact an Executive Board Member

A wise man once began a great document with these words: “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union…” Our Constitution is a source of pride to the people of the United States, but we don’t often think about the fact that it was developed after the Articles of Confederation failed to provide our country with a stable governmental structure. The Founding Fathers recognized this failure and met to write a new document, one which would provide our citizens with a stronger and more stable democracy.

In a way, there are parallels between Local 802 and the United States of the 18th century. We are proud of the fact that we are members of a strong union, one which is aggressive in obtaining and enforcing good contracts for our members. This has been accomplished in two ways. Each member contributes a portion of his or her income to hire professional staff to administer our contracts; when contracts are due for renewal, our solidarity protects us and provides the leverage needed to win a favorable settlement.

There is, however, a sense that times are changing. Changes in technology and the tastes of the public are reducing the demand for our services. We cannot rely exclusively on the tactic of withholding our services to get the terms and conditions under which we would like to work.

Perhaps then, it is time for 802 members to form a more perfect union; perhaps it is time for Local 802 to evolve beyond a service organization and into an organization of activists. The future will demand that we have more strategies to use against employers; think of it as guerrilla warfare rather than brute force. We will need more allies among other unions and social justice organizations. We must have a more potent voice in the political arena by becoming a visible force in electing representatives who understand our problems and will support us when our jobs are threatened.

Developing this kind of power will require the ability to mobilize quickly and decisively and it cannot be done utilizing staff alone, or even the staff and those dedicated members who are currently willing to serve on rank-and-file committees. We must develop a much larger group of participants in our union’s activities.

It is toward that end that the Executive Board has authorized the formation of a Local 802 Activists’ Network. Membership means that one participates in at least two or three outreach activities each year. More importantly, membership means helping the Executive Board to reach others who would be willing to participate in the same way. By doing your part to make the network grow, you will help make Local 802 a stronger and more effective union.

Interested? If you are, call Milton Charles at (212) 245-4802, ext. 143. We hope many of you will be – our future success depends on it.