New York union appeals for aid for suffering freelancersmain
Statement from president Adam Krauthamer of the Associated Musicians of Greater New York, Local 802 AFM:
In our city and state’s efforts to prevent and contain the spread of COVID-19, health authorities have urged social distancing, forcing businesses to cancel or indefinitely postpone large gatherings. For musicians, whose workspaces primarily constitute “large gatherings” – whether a theatre production, a concert, a music festival, or a recording session in close quarters – the developing coronavirus situation poses a major threat to our income and health and retirement benefits.
Many Local 802 members make their living as freelancers, relying on multiple employers for their income and to accrue health and pension benefits – which they can only accrue each time they work an engagement. While we applaud employers for taking all the necessary steps to ensure our members, fellow colleagues, and audience members are safe from the spread of this pandemic, the reality is that as musicians lose work for unpredictable amounts of time, their financial security is threatened. This does not just affect freelance musicians, but all our colleagues in the arts eco-system – hard-working actors, choristers, stage managers, crew members, ticket-sellers, and ushers who work in tandem to make the show go on.
As such, today I call on Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo to take action to ensure that musicians and other impacted cultural workers are covered during this time of crisis. As theaters and concert halls go dark, we must ensure that musicians and other arts workers are not left behind. We call on all relevant government agencies to work immediately to put together and pass a strong economic relief package that ensures all arts workers have access to health care and unemployment benefits while their workplaces are shuttered. Immediate action is required not only to protect public health, but arts funding at all levels. This will provide arts employers the resources they need to quickly recover and reopen when appropriate. New York benefits from one of the most dynamic and profitable arts and entertainment sectors in the world – we must ensure that all the workers who keep this sector running are taken care of during this pandemic and able to get back on strong economic footing when the crisis passes.
musicians from the Met