INFORMATION IS

POWER

Advocate

Leadership and Authorship:

E

Local 802 Workplace Anti-Harassment Initiative

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Independent Candidate, Local 802 Election

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Co-Founder, Musicians for Pension Security

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Ad Hoc Committee to Elect AFM-EPF Retiree Representative

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Broadway Theatre Committee Delegate

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Author, MPRA and Our Fund

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Author, Workplace Harassment Guidelines

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Author, A Seat at the Table: Selecting the Retiree Representative

I have been advocating for the rights and protections of Local 802 members since I joined the union in 1982. I played Broadway shows and, beginning with my second show (the first one ran for only three days), I was elected as a delegate to the Broadway Theater Committee. I served in that capacity for 24 years, voted in from every show I played.

During that 24-year period, I  stepped forward, asked many questions and highlighted issues that needed to be addressed on behalf of myself and my colleagues. My goal was to advance the causes of workplace protections, job security, anti-harassment, anti-discrimination and anti-abuse on the job. I realized early on that most people would not make the bold step to speak up for themselves or others, no matter how egregious the behavior, for fear of losing their current job or future work. In the work climates that many of us have endured over the decades, this was not an unreasonable position—but that thinking only benefits the individual. It never changes anything. I believe the collective is powerful, so I work to engage and inspire large groups to action.

I continued to take on these roles but realized that my focus was shifting—I became an attorney in 2000. Since that time, I have moved between two worlds. I have continued to perform and always seek to meld my legal work with my life-long career in the arts.

Beginning in February 2017, I became part of a national network of AFM-EPF participants dedicated to understanding and uncovering  the details surrounding what had happened to our once enviable and extremely healthy pension fund. Many of us worked countless hours on behalf of the national AFM membership. I also researched the role of the Retiree Representative, mandated by the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act (MPRA) of 2014. That became my primary focus—to research and analyze the potential effect on the fund participants and share the information with my colleagues. I became a co-founder of Musicians for Pension Security, a small group of NYC-based musicians, which gathered more than 200 musicians in NY in April 2017 to advise them of our findings. Following my work there, I helped to form a smaller group of musicians focused exclusively on the election of the Retiree Representative, who would be responsible for representing more than 29,000 of the 50,000 participants if the Fund Trustees chose to submit an application to the US Treasury for suspension of long-promised (for more than 50 years) benefits. My idea that the Trustees would engage a group of members to assist them in choosing someone to take on this weighty role was novel in that no other multi employer pension fund had ever pursued this as a possibility. The law does not preclude it but does not require it either. Our group sent a formal request for a meeting to the Fund Trustees in July 2017, which received a “thank you” for the letter but nothing more. I, subsequently, wrote an article that appeared in Local 802’s Allegro, advocating for participation in the selection of the Retiree Representative.

In 2018, I ran as the first solo Independent Candidate for the Local 802 Executive Board. Distressed by what I saw as an administration that was often disconnected, disengaged and disinterested, I believed that it was essential to advocate for change. If I wanted change, then I had to be responsible for my own part in that. I did not win a seat on the Executive Board but I came very close. Most importantly, I have been told by many and I believe myself, my participation helped to draw attention to the desperate need for administrative changes; the vitally important role and responsibilities of the Executive Board; and the option of “no-slate voting”—meaning that one could vote across the ballot for candidates from the slates of the two parties and me, as the Independent, and consider that a responsible choice for a collaborative administration with diversity of skills, experience and institutional knowledge.

I have since joined the Workplace Anti-Harassment Initiative, a committee which works, exclusively, on proposing changes to the current Local 802 administration related to workplace harassment and discrimination; staying informed on required training mandated by New York State Law and monitoring protocol relative to the Local 802 bylaws, collective bargaining agreements and current employer harassment policies affecting Local 802 members.