NEW LEADERS. NEW DIRECTION.
STRONGER UNION.

Adam Krauthamer Speech

9/29/18 MFC Rally

 

To all my fellow musicians, friends, colleagues and 802 members; I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to address you today.  I want to thank you, truly thank you, the musicians of New York for coming, showing up and participating in our unions democratic process.  

 

Let me also express my thanks to the incredible slate of candidates who have been audacious enough to stand with us in this campaign to make the case for change.  

 

I want to thank the staff and everyone here at St. Malachy’s church, where they have given us a home over the last few years.  To the many musicians in New York who have backed our campaign for change from the day we announced on September 5th, thank you.  We have been overwhelmed with the outpouring of support. And to my wife,  Betsy Wolfe, I’m always so proud to stand by you, and without your support I know I wouldn’t be standing here today. 

 

Two years ago, I could not have imagined that I would be standing here before you as a candidate for President of Local 802. I am a horn player in New York - and while I come from a union family and am engaged in national politics -  up until two years ago, I was disengaged from 802 business and politics. As I went about my professional career,  I believed, like many others,  our union leaders were doing their best in a tough environment. I wasn’t really paying attention - I wasn’t engaged. 

 

But that all changed in December 2016. I received a letter saying that my pension was no longer secure and that I should make other arrangements for my retirement. I’m sure you remember that letter as well.

 

That was the moment I woke up and decided to pay attention.

 

In February 2017, I stood in the back of our packed union hall perhaps with many of you, as we listened to the pension fund trustees — a group that included our current Local 802 President — explain to us that the problems at the pension fund were simply unavoidable.  —None of this was their fault,—they shouldn’t be blamed”.

 

Many things were said at that meeting by our trustees, more troubling was what was left - unsaid.  We all knew there was more to the story. 

 

Later that winter, I along with couple of dedicated musicians formed Musicians for Pension Security, in search of more information about the state of our pension, to try and work with union leadership on solutions, and to demand more transparency and accountability from the trustees.

 

With the help of donations from many of you - and other musicians across the country,  we hired some of the top pension experts in the world. And with their help, we finally got the facts. And the sad truth is -  that the AFM-EPF has been badly mismanaged by the trustees. I’ll return to this in a moment.

 

Through your collective engagement and support MPS has united 20,000 musicians across the United States. We have been successful - in pushing for change at our pension fund. We have seen more transparency and more communication.

 

Has MPS solved the problem? 

 

No, there is a lot of work to do -  but we have come a long way in two years. And while the trustees continue to refuse to hold themselves accountable over the years, they now know for the first time ever something has changed.   

 

They know that we are awake they know that we watching and more importantly, they know we are actively engaged.   

 

That is our story.  That is change which can only happen when you choose to make it happen. 

 

Over the course of the last two years, while MPS was organizing musicians around the country, trying to engage in solutions for the pension crisis President Tino Gagliardi adopted a strategy of denial and avoidance.

 

As the most outspoken defender of the AFM-EPF’s performance - second only to Ray Hair, our Local 802 President doubled down on his position.   Take for example a few of his statements on expenses and our funds investment performance.

 

President Gagliardi: “Our expenses compare favorably to those of other entertainment industry funds.”   

 

The facts are these:

  • AFM-EPF Expenses are 49.4% higher than the average in the peer group of entertainment funds 

  • Maureen Kilkelly our fund administrator, makes $422,667 per year - 57.7% higher than our peer group.

  • And this year alone we have wasted millions of our hard earned pension dollars on PR consultants and useless layers of investment advisers.

 

President Gagliardi: Investment performance has been “good.”

 

The facts are these:

  • Our investment performance ranked dead last in the peer group over 10 years

  • A Federal Judge (capitalized?) called our investment strategy under President Gagliardi’s watch “extraordinarily risky.” 

• And, our trustees failed to meet their own custom benchmarks for investment performance — in five of the last seven years.

 

Think about that and I'll say it a different way. The trustees have hit their target benchmark, in a good market — in only two out of seven years.

 

Rather than being accountable and transparent about the problems at our pension fund, over the last 18 months I watched our current President double down his support for failed policies. 

 

In the face of this real crisis, President Gagliardi was unwilling to even be accountable to the very musicians who elected him - I couldn’t help but  think. If Tino Gagliardi hasn’t been accountable as a trustee, how can he be accountable as the President of the largest most powerful Local in the country.  

 

Thats why I started taking a closer look at the Gagliardi administration’s record over the last 9 years and unfortunately, found that many of the same problems that exist at our pension fund also exist right here at local 802.

 

 

It is important for 802 voters to know some quantifiable facts. Here’s a point by point analysis of where our union stands after 9 years of the Gagliardi administration.

 

Membership has fallen 15% under the Gagliardi administration. The union lost money in each of the last three years. 802 Financial Vice President Tom Olcott, recently said that work dues, which is a very good barometer of the union’s health, are “on a steady non-accelerating decline” since 2015.

 

Expenses at 802 are what I’d call a serious problem right now. Expenses on a per-member basis increased by nearly 37%  since Mr. Gagliardi took office. Worse, expenses are growing at 2.3 times the rate of revenue growth at 802. 

 

You don’t need me to tell you, this spending is unsustainable.

 

One clear example of the complete lack of fiscal discipline at 802 is Mr. Gagliardi’s travel habits. No President in Local 802 history has ever traveled as frequently or spent as much 802 money our dues on expensive upgraded first class travel. 

 

According to 802 records, Gagliardi has been going on numerous expensive trips to foreign locations such as Tokyo, Rome, London, Belgrade and Paris. He requested and received numerous first class upgrades on flights all paid for with your dollars.

 

That is just our President’s international travel.  

 

According to 802 records, The excessive spending got so bad that the committee in charge of overseeing only a fraction of Mr. Gagliardi’s travel said that these trips were “not for the benefit of LOCAL 802, but really should have been paid for by the AFM.” The committee said that they were concerned about “the increasingly rapid depletion of funds.” 

 

I’m going to say a phrase that I know all musicians understand.  

 

 Living within your means.

 

This spending by our current administration doesn’t reflect that thinking.  

 

It is important to note that this spending went on in plain sight it was approved and rubber stamped by our current Executive Board.  Our union system is structured so that a President does not make these decisions alone.   There is supposed to be oversight checks and balances from the 802 Executive Board  and yet  according to 802 records over the last nine years  the 802 Executive Board signed off on every one of these upgrades.

 

Just like the pension plan, when you have people who are entrenched in power for many years, they become out of touch and they can become unaccountable to the very people who elected them. 

 

We meet today at a defining moment. A moment when our union is seeing declining membership, less and less union work under contract, a younger generation of musicians who see little to no value in joining our union and a pension plan in crisis.

 

These issues when taken together pose a real threat to the future of our union.

 

And no, These challenges are not all of the union’s making. But the failure to respond, the failure to make effective change, is the direct result of broken politics at our union and the failed policies of Tino Gagliardi.

 

We are better than these last nine years. We are a better union than this. I believe that.

 

There is a need for a contested election at a local 802. It has been nine years since the current administration has had to face the voters and it is time that this administration is held accountable for their record.  

 

That is the great part of the democratic process, it holds people accountable whether they like it or not. It also allows for new leaders  to come to the table with fresh ideas and new solutions for the future.  

 

Today, I stand here with Musicians for Change and we represent just that.  A set of principles and ideas to usher in real change at our union. To revitalize it, to reinvent it, to make it relevant again. And with your help, your participation and your engagement, I know we can make our union stronger than ever.

 

And that starts with your vote on December 4th.

 

Our first priority when in office will be to address the broken relationship between musicians in New York and their union.  

 

Our union should be the central pillar that unites our community. Our union should represent and reflect what it means to be a musician in 2018. Right now most musicians get an email from Local 802 and the first thing they do is delete it.  

 

This is because our current administration never built bridges to the community of musicians it is tasked to represent.  

 

The time has come for change.

 

The Gagaliardi administration has lost site of the fact that a successful community of musicians isn’t just reflected by Lincoln Center and Broadway, it has to be ALL musicians.  From newly formed groups who are testing out new business models and trying to find their place in the business,  to jazz musicians, who after decades are still underrepresented by our union, to indie musicians who play in clubs, and younger musicians

who right now see little to no value in joining our Union.  

 

The current administration has forgotten that the inclusion of all its members will define our success. 

 

Musicians for Change will rebuild the bridge to all musicians in our community. How?  First we have to rebuild trust.

 

Trust is a crucial part to any relationship. The relationship between members and the union is a two way street. 

 

Once in office we will do our part to restore communication with musicians in New York in a transparent, timely and trustworthy manner. As the membership  you will be well informed and well educated by our administration so we can leverage the power of an engaged membership.

 

Because an engaged membership ultimately makes for a stronger union which is what any successful negotiation, organizing plan or policy initiative is built on.  

 

As a community of musicians when we decide to wake up, get engaged and get involved, we can change things, we have done it before.

 

Another priority of my administration will be to put Local 802 on a path to a secure future with an actual long-term strategic plan. The rapidly changing state of the music industry has left our Union scrambling to catch up. 

 

Right now, 802 goes from one crisis to the next trying to put out fires after they have already occurred. There doesn’t seem to be any effective long-term - pro-active strategy. Take for examples the unions approach to the loss of the recording industry in New York or the crisis at our pension fund.  

 

Are all these issues the fault of the union? No, but once again, the choice to not proactively address them with any effective strategic plan is a serious failure of leadership of this current administration. 

 

The time has come for change.

 

In order to address these challenges once in office we will put together a long-term strategic management plan for 802 that will have measurable short range, mid range, and long term goals, with the understanding that the best strategic plans will need to adapt, change and be re-assessed in a challenging environment. We must put this union on a track that will lead to a more secure future  for all 802 members.  

 

Our administration will professionalize, modernize and streamline the way 802 does business.

 

We will overhaul our business and financial plans reign in extraneous expenses and hold managers accountable for achieving these plans.

 

Another priority once in office will be to find ways to better serve you, our membership. We will  prioritize service at Local 802. 

 

The purpose of the union is to serve its members and all union officials from top to bottom need to start thinking this way. 

 

We will address some of the culture problems and the seemingly unwelcoming environment that has existed at the 802 offices for far too long.  

 

Too often when a member goes to the 802 offices with a question the answer is “no.” When was the last time you felt welcome or even comfortable walking in the door of your own union?  

 

If we are to successfully rebuild our union through community engagement the 802 building and environment must be a place that we are proud of, where all musicians feel comfortable and welcome. 

 

 The time has come for change.

 

Our next priority will be to address diversity and inclusion.

 

We are committed to engaging with employers, contractors, Local 802 staff and 802 membership to create a culture of equity and inclusion.  

 

Our union should emerge as a leader in this area. 

 

I have been lucky enough to teach at Juilliard’s MAP program for the last three years and have seen first hand the value of supporting and fostering long-term relationships with diverse communities. The MAP program actively seeks students from diverse backgrounds, underrepresented in the classical music field and is committed to enrolling the most talented and deserving students regardless of their financial background.

 

Musicians for Change will make outreach to underserved communities a priority and bring these talented musicians into our community and foster long-term relationships with them.

 

And finally, we are committed to opposing the climate of sexual harassment and abuse in the arts.  

 

Our current administration has shown that it is unable to adequately address and resolve these issues when they emerge. Musicians for Change is committed to truly acknowledging and addressing these realities.  

We are prepared to identify industry issues within the workplace that have created an environment filled with examples of harassment and address them head on. 

 

These are just some of the ideas I believe will ultimately serve to strengthen our union.  

 

In order to execute new ideas it will take new leaders who have fresh, creative perspectives that reflect what it is to be a musician today, in 2018.  I truly believe that the Musicians for Change vision is the right direction for the future of our union.

 

I could not be more proud of my fellow twenty candidates on the Musicians for Change ticket. They represent an acknowledgment of our past and a vision for our future.

 

The Musicians for Change team has both experience and diversity. The age range is extraordinary from people in their 30s to people in their 70s. 

 

Over half of our candidates are women. This is a first in Local 802 history and frankly it's about time. 

 

We have candidates that have experience inside our union administration.   We have candidates who have served on numerous negotiating committees, as well as musicians that have experience working in every possible field. Freelance musicians, Substitute Musicians, Lincoln Center Musicians, Recording Musicians, Jazz Musicians, Indie Rock Musicians and Broadway Musicians . 

 

The MFC team is an extraordinarily smart, courageous and diverse group of  people that will bring your collective wisdom to bear on the decisions that we will have to make in the future. 

 

Finally these candidates are good people with good judgement, and that means something. They are kind, approachable, trustworthy and are on a mission to help you, their fellow musicians through service at our union.

 

So much of this election is about changing the culture of our union. We offer a culture that embraces energy, creativity, confidence and hope. 

When I look at the current administration I see a culture marked by fear, resignation and pessimism. Look at the way they are campaigning. Rather than discussing their record over the last nine years in office.  They instead want to instill fear in membership about the possibility of change.

 

They are saying that the union simply cannot change and that the leadership must stay the same. In their view there should be no dialogue - and no discussion about the future of this union.  So the current administration can go on to serve years 10, 11, and 12 in office.  

 

They even go so far to say that it’s risky to have a contested election that debate is unhealthy, that it will divide us as a union.  

 

I couldn’t disagree more. I believe that a contested election will unite us.

 

What our current administration has failed to see, is our story.  We are a local union that woke up. We are paying attention, we are engaged and if we want it, change is possible.

 

As a union, together we must rise above the fear perpetuated by the status quo and embrace the possibilities of change.

 

Change is coming but change must start with you the voter. 

 

If you demand better leadership, you will get it.

 

By voting for Musicians for Change on December 4th, you reaffirm the belief that this union is founded on hope and not fear, on courage and not resignation, on embracing change and a brighter future for all musicians.  

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Musicians for Change, Inc is incorporated as a 501(c)(5) organization.