NEW LEADERS. NEW DIRECTION.
An Open Letter and Endorsement from
Music Director Kevin Stites
Dear Fellow 802 Members,
Our union needs accountability, transparency, honesty and new ways of addressing our problems if we hope to grow stronger and survive in the coming years. I first became interested in Adam Krauthamer and his team through their work with Musicians for Pension Security. I followed them closely as they provided much-needed information about the follies and failed management of our Pension fund. I believe the lack of transparency, not to mention accountability, is inexcusable. I am greatly disturbed that Tino Gagliardi and the other pension trustees are managing our retirement fund and with essentially no investment experience whatsoever. I’m at an age where I am facing major life decisions. The fact that I have no idea what I can expect for my retirement upsets me on a daily basis. Worrying about my pension was never an issue when I was younger; many musicians my age never thought to back up our future with a 401k or similar alternative investments. Now, we are at the mercy of the Pension trustees—one being the current president of Local 802.
But, this is not just about the Pension. I personally went to the President’s office, through the Broadway Rep, regarding the collection of monies owed to my musical staff on a show that was canceled abruptly before rehearsals began. The producer promised us a week of rehearsal pay (the actors were given two), and we never received the money. I followed up numerous times over a period of years through the Broadway Rep and to this day, I have received no response. Not one email or phone call. This is what our union is meant to provide its members: assurance that we receive all payments due. To those of us who were promised and counting on a week’s pay, this is no small matter.
Also, in my experience during negotiations, I have seen our Union use tactics that could be interpreted as loud, inarticulate and boorish. It is an embarrassment, and I doubt is an effective negotiating tool.
It is 2018 and our concerns are great. We need people at our Local who are looking for ways to bring fresh ideas into the building, utilize better skills at the negotiating table, and sincerely listen to its member’s concerns. I believe Adam Krauthamer and the Musicians for Change Party will bring exactly that. I support Adam and the entire Musicians for Change ticket without hesitation. I hope you will join me in voting for them on December 4th.
Broadway Music Director, Arranger, currently Music Director and Principal Conductor for Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular.