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Tino Gagliardi
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Endorsing Landesman would have been a curious move for the AFM but his selection by Obama is even more curiuos. Rocco is the head of the Broadway League Production company called Jujamcyn. He owns 5 Broadway Theatres, at one time or another has owned 2 or perhaps 3 minor league baseball teams. I believe he also has an interest in race horses. I understand he has a history of not for profit and philanthropic interests, but I, as well as some of my colleagues on Broadway, have grave concerns on the future direction of the NEA given Landesman's involvement with The League as a theatre owner and producer. As you probably are aware, the size of the Broadway Orchestra has been under attack in recent history by The League with the charge of preserving the standard and quality of live theatrical performance left to our local. The first sentence in the NEA's mission statement reads: "The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established; bringing the arts to all Americans; and providing leadership in arts education." It's hard for those of us who work on Broadway and for Jujamcyn to believe the idea of "supporting excellence in the arts" is something Landesman cares much about. A case strictly in point is the last run of "Gypsy" starring Patti Lupone. As soon as the numbers dipped a bit, the first move the company made was to let several members (half) of the string section go. Granted, the show was over the minimum number of musicians deemed appropriate by the CBA (19 is the min., the orchestration called for 26 if memory serves me correctly) giving the producer the option of reducing the orchestra size. In this case, we were playing the original charts and the orchestra was placed on stage as opposed to in the pit. Cutting half the string section to save a few bucks when the orchestra was both a musically and visually integral component to the production hardly seems to be in "support of excellence in the arts."
Toggle Commented Jul 28, 2009 on A safe bet at The AFM Observer
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Since Mr. Blanc felt it necessary to share some of the anti union rhetoric of the Chamber of Commerce, I thought I'd oblige by offering the relevant counter argument. Like Rick, who copy and pasted the Chamber of Commerce literature from their site, (http://www.uschamber.com/issues/index/labor/cardchecksecrbal.htm) I'd like to share from American Rights at Work. This posting is a little dated but it makes clear what some of us have known for some time about the Chamber of Commerce. The entire text can be read at: http://www.americanrightsatwork.org/the-anti-union-network/chamber-of-commerce/ Chamber of Commerce Big-Business Umbrella Group’s Anti-Union Agenda The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation’s most powerful business lobbying organization, has been campaigning against unions, fair labor practices, increases in the minimum wage, and legal protections for America’s workers for nearly a century. The Chamber’s anti-union initiatives are just one part of its multi-issue agenda. Unlike other anti-union organizations, this prominent lobbying force does not hide its alignment with big business. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Chamber has an annual budget of $150 million2 and 300 staff members. With President Thomas J. Donohue at the helm, annual contributions to the hamber from its largest corporate members rose from $600,000 to $90 million in less than a decade. Since he took office in 1997, Donohue has built a more aggressive and politically-powerful Chamber not afraid to take on controversial issues at the request of its large corporate donors and the Bush White House. This direction has caused the Business Roundtable and other moderate members of the business community to distance themselves from the organization. Even when Donohue first took office Business Week expressed caution at his “frontal assault on unions,” commenting that “Polls show strong public support for giving workers their piece of an expanding economic pie.” Although an increasing number of its member organizations pursue cooperative and socially-responsible labor relations, the Chamber continues to advocate against unions, and appears to be ramping up its attack.
Toggle Commented Jul 25, 2009 on Cohen to FMCS at The AFM Observer
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" I suspect that the mere fact that binding arbitration would be the end result of stalling would eliminate most stalling tactics." Robert, I agree with all you've said about the EFCA, including the idea that perhaps stalling will be less desirable in some cases. The point I tried to make earlier is that binding arbitration does not always go our way, to say the least, and having Cohen in the mix helps our chances. Throwing into the mix the idea of someone not familiar with our industry deciding our worth through mediation seems counter productive to me. Having been involved in NLRB organizing attempts , I know from first hand experience that it is the employer, or in my case, the producer that intimidated the musicians before the vote, not the other way around.
Toggle Commented Jul 9, 2009 on Cohen to FMCS at The AFM Observer
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"Basically the RMA leadership are ready to ride this horse until it dies under them -- the heck with everyone else. They actually feel entitled (we live in an age of entitlement). Some LA musicians go along not necessarily because they agree but because they don't want to make waves." I really tried to avoid contributing to what is clearly way too much attention paid to an individual who has chosen not to be a stake holder in the future of our business, but I have to comment that this is the singularly dumbest thing I've read on this blog to date. I may be presuming too much, but it's hard to imagine that such a sentiment could be expressed by one successful professional about other successful professionals.
Toggle Commented Jul 9, 2009 on Rick Blanc's response at The AFM Observer
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Mr. Blanc raises the main section that some musicians were critical of regarding the EFCA. The thought of mediation determining the outcome of an agreement for musicians was troublesome for some because of the peculiarity we represent as a work force in the larger labor movement. Some members of our own elected leadership confuse what's good for labor with what's good for musicians. I'm not suggesting we don't possess similar ideals, its just that there is a difference between musicians and say the folks trying to organize at Walmart. George Cohen is an individual that not only understands our differences but has engaged in bargaining on our behalf and understands the industry models that best serve both the musicians and our employers. We should be grateful that an individual with such a diverse background was chosen.
Toggle Commented Jun 30, 2009 on Cohen to FMCS at The AFM Observer
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From "Midtown Madness" "Tino finds out who I am, He confronts me face to face, and Tino gets his ass kicked." WOW. Please, you need not be so concerned with this musician's well-being. I thought I had already survived grade school and the schoolyard bully. Apparently not. This is the level of discourse we can expect from the supporters of the Concerned Musicians and their anti-musician policies.. You're right about one thing. It is indeed about control. Control of the union by the musicians that make up its membership.
Toggle Commented Jun 16, 2009 on Something afoot in 802 at The AFM Observer
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Midtown Madness- curious moniker Your statement "The second resolution was to lower the quorum to 95. Don't be at all surprised if the very same people who supported this resolution are back in a year to raise it back up to 150." is equally curious. Why? The author of the resolution made a cogent and researched reason for 802 benefiting from a quorum that would allow the membership to be able to participate in the governance of the local. When the quorum was lowered from 250 to 125, our membership had dropped to 12,500. We now are a membership of less than 9000. What exactly could be an argument against such a workable number as 95? Robert (as in Robert's rules) advises that a quorum should be a number that allows a body to do business, citing, if memory serves me correctly, close to 1% for large bodies. As an 802 member and former Executive Board member, I can say with a fair amount of authority that the intent of our bylaws is to protect and empower the members, so how is this a bad thing? Why is "midtown madness" afraid of allowing the membership to exercise their authority per the bylaws? "Describing the current administration as "plagued by scandal", or denounced as " guilty of malfeasance", when in fact the only thing they're guilty of is following the letter of the bylaws to a "T"." Where is the administration described as "plagued by scandal"? - do tell. As far as "guilty of malfeasance" all you have to do is read our bylaws. Midtown madness is unfortunately exposing an ignorance of these bylaws. Please read them, they are available to members at www.local802afm.org. Article V, section 7, (d) allows only the membership to judge charges against officers. How does the Executive Board dismissing charges against themselves comport with this section, or common sense regarding due process for that matter? Following the bylaws to a "T"? Hardly. Rather a blatant disregard for the rule of law. "As one speaker implied, the affected union employee will simply put his belongings in a box and take a cab to his new office at 1501 Broadway." To which several members asked when and one suggested Monday, totally missing the point. There is nothing in the resolution that stipulates that any affected staff member cannot continue as an employee of 802. "trumped up charges" I believe the musician who brought the charges would disagree. Given the time and effort that had to be sacrificed, this is not likely. As any busy working musician can attest, this could hardly be considered a worthwhile hobby. As far as bettering the health plan, you are giving the wrong people the credit. Thank the musicians that agreed to forfeit cost of living increases to finance the plan regardless of whether they can participate or not. They are the ones responsible even if it fails! Or maybe you think we make too much money... What will it take for the administration of our union, local or otherwise, to not automatically excuse disagreement or dissent as politically motivated - as opposed to experts (folks actually doing the work) trying to help their elected representatives do the right thing by helping them do their job and promote the collective best interest? This is not about party politics, it's about we, as musicians, exercising our right to have a say in the direction the union goes in and not being ignored, or worse, disenfranchised. We can't afford it.
Toggle Commented Jun 15, 2009 on Something afoot in 802 at The AFM Observer
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