Expert opinions on MOME
President & Executive Director, Associated Musicians of Greater New York, Local 802 AFM
Local 802, American Federation of Musicians, is the largest local union of professional musicians in the world, comprising musicians from the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and New York Philharmonic to the pit orchestras of Broadway and the combos playing in the city’s jazz clubs, cabarets and venues of every size across the five boroughs.
New York's vibrant music scene is made up of hardworking craftspeople who pour their lives into their work. Our union devotes our energy to strengthening our cultural and tourism economy by championing live music, advocating for fair wages and treatment of musicians, and promoting policies that allow musicians to afford to live, work and raise their families here.
This work includes encouraging film and television producers to record and score with New York's world-class musicians. It means working to ensure that New Yorkers have access to the power of the arts and live performance. And it means ensuring that musicians are not misclassified as independent contractors, forced by exploitive employers to acquiesce to wage floor pressure and little to no pay.
Mayor de Blasio recognizes the critical civic role of musicians and took the important step of adding “music” to Commissioner Julie Menin’s purview at the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. Commissioner Menin is already doing important work to encourage industry diversity and develop worthy initiatives like “Broadway in the Boros,” which brings the power of live music to more New Yorkers while employing professional musicians with fair wages and benefits. Now we must strive to ensure that all venues, events and programs receiving public support are required to pay musicians and other performers fairly as well.
The city is making great strides to bolster our cultural landscape, and we are thrilled to have announced our endorsement for Mayor de Blasio's second term. Moving forward, we must work together to continue to strengthen policies that support the working artists who drive our cultural economy, and whose skills and passion are essential to the inspiring melody and unstoppable beat of New York.