by Jay Blumenthal, AFM International Secretary-Treasurer
On Thursday, August 5, we were all stunned to learn that AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka passed away unexpectedly at the age of 72. Rich was the president of the AFL-CIO for the past 12 years. During the four terms he served as president, he built a strong AFL-CIO leadership team and developed productive relationships with Washington politicians who could assist in moving labor’s agenda forward. Rich was a tireless advocate for working men and women and a well-respected labor leader worldwide.
I was introduced to Rich Trumka when I was a delegate to the 2017 AFL-CIO Convention in St. Louis. I had heard that Rich would be in total control of the convention proceedings at all times and prepared for any eventuality. That proved to be true. Proponents of the convention resolutions that were supported by the leadership were lined up at the microphones, ready to speak to fellow delegates, each time a resolution came before the body. Resolution passage was never in doubt. In the end, 56 resolutions were passed, ranging from a workers’ bill of rights to immigration and citizenship.
Rich brought the same preparation and tenacity to the battlefield when fighting for social justice or the improvement of working conditions for all men and women. We all owe him a debt of gratitude for his devotion to improving our lives. The best way we can repay this debt and honor his legacy is by redoubling our efforts in the fight for justice, fairness, and dignity for working men and women everywhere.
Fall Is in the Air
It’s hard to believe that it’s September. Fall is knocking on the door. This summer has been one of many virtual Zoom AFM regional and player conferences. The two exceptions were the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM) and Locals Conference Council/Players’ Conference Council (LCC/PCC) conferences, which were held both virtually and in person. At both in-person meetings, strict COVID protocols were in place, with attendees having to show proof of full vaccination before entering the meeting room, as well as requiring mask wearing and social distancing.
Throughout August, the Delta variant infected people. Many states have reported increased hospitalizations and deaths. This more contagious variant has convinced some who were reluctant to get vaccinated. As of August 12, just over half the US population is fully vaccinated and 70% have received at least one dose. We still have a long way to go to herd immunity, which kicks in when 90% are fully vaccinated. Particularly alarming are the breakthrough cases, which do not typically result in severe illness or hospitalization.
My fingers are crossed that the current and future COVID variants are brought under control quickly to protect musicians and build audience confidence allowing performances to resume again.
The International Musician August 2021 cover story about Local 77 (Philadelphia, PA) was intended to highlight the new leadership. The comments by the subjects in the story were their opinions and recollections of events prior to their election. Some of the text referenced the previous administration who had not been interviewed or consulted about the story. We apologize for any mischaracterizations that may have been construed. We meant no disrespect to the previous leadership who served and supported their members for many years.Read More