Why I am still paying my union dues

Letter to the Editor

Why I am still paying my union dues, and why all other musicians should too.

Today I wrote my check to support the union....It seems like an odd thing to do while I do not play ANY union jobs these days.

I strongly believe that the South Florida music scene is in urgent need of improvement. I believe that there is only one way to accomplish this...we all need to respect each other. We have to stick together and in doing so we have to support the union. We need to become colleagues in a real way and work towards one goal: we need to foster and develop our own orchestras in South Florida, not for today... but for the future.

While sometimes hiring people from out of town may be helpful, ultimately it is it is nothing but a quick and fleeting fix. If no one can settle here and become one of our own (because we have to keep on gigging in order to survive) we cannot start building on our future. We need to encourage the Operas, the Ballet, and other institutions to share this vision of the future with us and work together with us.

There really needs to be an orchestra that everybody can be proud of, to call their own. There needs to be a (major) opera company with their very own orchestra and a (major) ballet company with their own orchestra, with living salaries for musicians. South Florida needs to move up in the music world... we have to make an investment in the future of music in South Florida.

I also believe that the contractors that currently seem to be dividing the musicians among each other should take a closer look at themselves and then think of the REAL purpose of music... should that not be to bring people closer together? Should that not be to create excellence in performance? And shouldn't we be working TOGETHER and not against each other? Is it right to take each others jobs?

All of the above are the reasons that I still want to belong to the union. I would like to encourage everyone, professionals, former union members, musicians that have decided up till now they did not need the union, as well as our new musicians and students, to join in our future. JOIN the union. Maybe you do not think you need it right now, but the union does need you and your support and ideas. And your colleagues need you as well.

Iris Van Eck

Member, Local 655



If Ms. Van Eck and the leadership of this local really want to support the union and their fellow musicians they would do so by refusing to play non-union jobs.
"A community of musicians working TOGETHER to
preserve the culture of music and
promote dignity, fairness, and democracy for musicians" is what we are striving for. (not against)
Interesting, I just joined yesterday for absolutely no other reason but that I believe in the idea of a community of musicians working together.

Wait, it's Tuesday morning so technically it's been 3 days.

Funny thing is now that I've done it, I have NO idea what to do next. Will I be getting a welcome email/call, a complimentary fruit basket, a meeting schedule, some kind of protocol to explain to me how this particular local runs? Someone help me out.
No Jian B, you'll be getting an invoice for dues, no gigs (because there are none), no protection if you do happen to get one here or there, no group health insurance rate that you couldn't get for less (and probably better coverage) on your own, then an invoice for the work dues owed on that one gig you played, and then a long document from the National AFM explaining to you that your pension benefits will be going down a few percent every year indefinitely. Welcome to Florida, you may want to go back where you came from!

Write reply

This item is closed, it's not possible to add new comments to it or to vote on it

Comments must be approved before being published.