The President of Local 47, Hal Espinosa, recently took exception
to one of the readers comments we included in our previous
mailing. Here is our reply.


In response to yet another attack from the Local, this time from President
Espinosa’s January 25th official Local e-mail, we respectfully remind him
that the following appears at the head of the section which contained the
letter from which he took such public umbrage:

“The comments below represent only the views of the members
and not necessarily the views of the COMMITTEE”

Those words are there in every one of our e-mails, and they are there for a
reason. We simply cannot understand how their meaning was so completely
misconstrued or ignored.

A reader comment is just that: a comment from a reader, not the Committee.
Unlike Local 47, we do not exercise censorship regarding the publication of
comments from readers, within the bounds of good taste. The freedom to
speak out without fear of official or professional retaliation is central to
our pursuit of a freer, more accountable Local. Take a look at the
following quotes from Mr. Espinosa’s attack and see if you agree with us
that he has rather selectively and/or deliberately confused the message with
the messenger:

“false statements have been published and circulated by the “Committee”…”
“those who choose to hide behind the moniker of the “Committee” could tell
the rest of us what “winning strategy” they would have used…”
“Our guess is that the “Committee” – whoever or whatever they are – has no
“the only thing the “Committee” can do is complain about matters they were
not involved in…”
“false statements published by the “Committee”…”
“The “Committee” also falsely stated that the Desert Symphony threatened…”
“where the “Committee” got this patently false information from, but our
belief is that they simply made it up…”
“the fictional amount claimed by the “Committee”…”
“we have to put up with not only false statements from the “Committee”…”
“let the “Committee” know that their false statements…”

Additionally, he is becoming overly fond of characterizing our efforts as an
attempt “to divide us…” and “divide our Local.” Dissent may in some ways
be divisive, seeking as it does to separate questionable official policies
and activities from the membership that is ill-served by them, but the
constant chorus of “divide, divide, divide” is beginning to sound like
Johnny One-Note on the kazoo.

We, the “COMMITTEE” understand that it is in the interest of the Local’s
leadership to silence our voice and do everything possible to discredit our
sincere efforts to improve representation of the rank-and-file. We are here
for those that feel that our Local is not making a sincere, complete effort
to represent their interests. We maintain the right to a free exchange of
comments for the consideration of all members. Mr. Espinosa is certainly
free to respond to any reader comments that he wishes. Indeed, we would
have been happy to deliver his response to exactly the same readership that
received the letter that he found objectionable.

OUR forum is here for all.

In that spirit, and in case you didn’t see Mr. Espinosa’s attack using the
Local’s official e-mail system, here it is in its entirety.
By the way, before the COMMITTEE, the Local never made the effort to have an email


Setting the Record Straight
Recent Negotiations between Local 47 and the Desert Symphony

Recently, false statements have been published and circulated by the
“Committee for a More Responsible 47” regarding our recent negotiations with
Desert Symphony Orchestra management. I’d like to briefly set the record

In my forthcoming President’s Report published in the February Overture,
I’ve written the following:
After more than a year of negotiations, we [Local 47 musicians] were faced
with no wage increase for the fourth year in a row. Despite our best
efforts, management would not agree to even the smallest raise for our
members. So, after two orchestra meetings and an orchestra-wide vote, the
Desert Symphony musicians authorized a strike to begin Saturday, January 5th
– the night that Art Garfunkel was scheduled to appear with the Orchestra.
Fortunately for us, the strike didn’t last long as Desert Symphony
management felt the pressure and finally offered steady wage increases over
the next two years.

The reported “lamentable gains” won in the new contract were far greater
than the wage/benefit roll-backs that management proposed during our
negotiations over the past year. Had the Desert Symphony musicians chosen
not to strike, they would have had to ratify an agreement with not only no
wage increases, but also a reduction in the health & welfare contribution
schedule as well. In fact, Desert Symphony management maintained its “no
wage increase/benefit takeaway” position right up to the eve of when we
would commence our lawful picketing and strike related actions!

To characterize what was achieved as “lamentable” is not only false, but an
insult to the Desert Symphony musicians who bravely voted to authorize a
strike and to the Local 47 members on the Desert Symphony Orchestra
Committee who supported the actions taken by the Local. In fact, the
Orchestra Committee has issued the following statement in support of the
strike action:
The Desert Symphony Orchestra Committee appreciates the efforts of Hal
Espinosa and Local 47 in resolving a difficult and delicate negotiation. We
have received positive feedback from many of the musicians in the orchestra,
and are confident that our new 3 year contract will help lead the Symphony
to greater expansion and success.

Stephanie O’Keefe
Harvey Newmark
Peter Nevin
Rachel Berry
Theresa Treuenfels

Perhaps those who choose to hide behind the moniker of the “Committee” could
tell the rest of us what “winning strategy” they would have used against an
employer that stubbornly stuck to a no wage increase/benefit roll-back
position. Our guess is that the “Committee” – whoever or whatever they are
– has no idea as to what it (or they) would have done any differently, and
that the only thing the “Committee” can do is complain about matters they
were not involved in. It seems that their only goal is to try to divide
our Local.

Moreover, and in preparation for our strike, John Acosta, Local 47 EMD
administrator, did contact Art Garfunkel’s management to inform them of a
possible strike action. However, and contrary to the false statements
published by the “Committee,” at no time did he tell Mr. Garfunkel not to
perform. Rather – and this is an action we take in all strike situations
where we can put pressure on management (anyone remember the ‘95 Pantages
negotiations/strike, where we contacted Theodore Bikel?) – the call was
simply a professional courtesy to advise Mr. Garfunkel that Local 47 may be
involved in a labor dispute with the Desert Symphony. When negotiations
resumed and a deal was made, John once again called Mr. Garfunkel’s
management to inform them that the concert would not be picketed- again,
professional courtesy.

The “Committee” also falsely stated that the Desert Symphony threatened to
sue Local 47 for “$10 million dollars.” We don’t know where the “Committee”
got this patently false information from, but our belief is that they simply
made it up. The plain truth of the matter is that Local 47 never received
any official threat of litigation from the Desert Symphony – after all, they
had no legal claim against the Local to begin with, much less one involving
the fictional amount claimed by the “Committee.”

In closing, it’s sad that at a time when organized labor, including Local
47, is under assault from so many directions, we have to put up with not
only false statements from the “Committee,” but ones that undermine and
divide our Local. I hope that you, the membership of Local 47, will let the
“Committee” know that their false statements and attempts to divide us are
simply not acceptable.


Hal Espinosa


Until Next time,…


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