President's Report

… contracts: to file or not to file, is there a question??? … I often wonder, what is the reason for more contracts not being filed? Is there too much paperwork for the leader? Are they too lazy? If the musicians don’t even ask for pension, why would the leader bother? All of the above? At what point does it stop? Do the members want us to bring charges against everyone that works outside of the union? Sometimes I wonder why some bother being IN the Union, if they’re not PART of the Union. 

…to those who do file, our thanks…The musicians that are empowered by the filing of contracts thank those leaders who do take the time and effort to do so. Their support of the musicians whose efforts deserve these contract protections and benefits is greatly appreciated. I have worked with a number of leaders to assist them in simplifying the contract process and know by their actions that the program works. Those of you already collecting from the pension fund know what I’m talking about. If you are collecting a pension from the AFM-EP fund, please make it a point to tell the working musicians around you how good it feels to have that benefit, and ask them to insist on getting the benefits they deserve before it’s too late! … Pamphlet B negotiations continue … Progress was made in our last session in NY on January 22-24. Much work remains as it is a very complex negotiation, but there is much at stake for Local 655 so I will continue to work as hard as possible to bring home a good settlement for our musicians … AFM Legislative Director Alfonso Pollard… We spent some time assisting the AFM’s Legislative Director Alfonso Pollard while he was in town for the AFL-CIO meetings at the Fountainbleau Hilton. Our thanks to member Melody Cole for helping out at one of the functions… Miami Chamber Symphony … We have been working with the musicians of the MCS to re-structure their CBA so the orchestra can survive through these difficult times for non-profit organizations. We’ll keep you posted. … health insurance … We truly regret the hassles those of you have experienced lately with the change in coverage. I have spoken at length with Debra Margolis, the Executive Director of the Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Council who was the driving force in getting this Co-Op established. Both she and Tony Lestino feel extremely betrayed by the State of Florida Insurance Commission as they had approved of this coverage every step of the way. Now, the very people that approved it are denying our group the coverage you had expected. To say that Debra and all of us are upset is to put it mildly. Whether legal action is possible is being investigated as we speak. … new directories are (finally) here … The new format of the directory will allow us the opportunity to make updates in a much more organized and user-friendly manner. Please take the time to thank and support the advertisers that helped make this new directory possible. Without them, a lot more of your dollars would be needed to produce this book I’ll stay in touch; you do the same

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