Tag Archives: florida

Jacksonville Symphony Ratifies Four-Year Agreement

On August 15, the musicians of the Jacksonville Symphony ratified a new four-year agreement that begins September 21, 2020; the current contract has been extended for an additional two years through September 3, 2024. The musicians and staff of the Jacksonville Symphony have agreed to 10% salary reductions in an effort to mitigate the damage COVID-19 has caused by limiting ticket sales, and to help cover the cost of new safety measures.

Under the agreement, absences due to COVID-19-related issues will be paid without the use of sick or personal leave, while musicians who fall under the definition of “People at Increased Risk for Severe Illness” as defined by the CDC, or who share a household with someone that fits that definition, will not be required to perform live with other musicians but may be required to provide mutually agreed alternative services.

The orchestra’s musicians are members of Local 444 (Jacksonville, FL).

Yamaha Share the Gift Campaign Helps Rebuild School Music Programs

Music programs for students in Texas and Florida schools have been deeply affected by hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Schools have sustained damage or had to close indefinitely, leaving districts scrambling for resources. The Houston Independent School District alone lost $1 million in instruments across 13 campuses.

Yamaha Corporation of America, in conjunction with the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, is helping to rebuild these music programs. Now through December 31, if you post a photo or video explaining how music education has changed your life with the #YamahaSharetheGift hashtag on Twitter or Instagram, or submit a video through YouTube via the Share the Gift website (www.yamaha.com/us/sharethegift/), the company will donate a brand new instrument to Music Rising, the disaster relief fund of the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation.

Florida Unions Call for Living Wage

Amid calls for a $15 minimum wage, Florida will raise its minimum just 15 cents, to $8.25 in January. Meanwhile Target pledged to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. Disney World’s largest union organization, the Services Trades Council Union, has asked for “acceleration toward a living wage for all workers.” About 8,000 of the union’s members are making $10 an hour. All three Florida Democratic candidates for governor support raising minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Meanwhile, national movements to raise minimum wage to $15 have stalled following victories in Seattle, San Francisco, and other major cities.

CIW Women’s Group Sends Letter to Wendy’s CEO

At a time when national attention is directed toward the sexual harassment and assault of women in Hollywood, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) Women’s Group says gender-based violence in the fields remains largely overlooked. In early October, CIW sent a letter to Wendy’s CEO Todd Penegor, along with the company’s board chair and a major shareholder, calling attention to the sexual violence occurring in Wendy’s supply chain and requesting a meeting to discuss the issue. The letter called for Wendy’s participation in the Fair Food Program and questioned why Wendy’s had shifted from purchases in Florida, where Fair Food Program protections have largely eliminated sexual harassment and assault, to purchases in Mexico, where the abuses are rampant.

According to US statistics from the American Association of University Women, Langer Research Associates, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, 25% of all women as a whole, 65% of women on college campuses, and 80% of women in agricultural fields, have reported sexual harassment or assault in the workplace. CIW is a worker-based human rights organization which began with farmworkers in 1993.

Florida Law Leaves Injured Undocumented Workers Vulnerable

Florida law states that all workers, regardless of immigration status, should be protected by worker compensation laws, but according to an NPR and ProPublica investigation, employers and insurance companies have found a way around it through a technicality. The Florida workers’ compensation law was amended in 2003 making it a felony to use false identification to get a job. Companies hiring undocumented workers purposely hold the threat of prosecution or deportation over their heads to keep them from filing claims.

Of 800 undocumented people charged with workers’ compensation fraud for using fake Social Security numbers, more than 560 never even applied for benefits. Meanwhile, insurance companies are exploiting the system by collecting premiums then not having to pay out benefits. The AFL-CIO is pushing for a comprehensive rewrite of the law.

Critic Calls Sale of Classical Stations Unconscionable

South Florida music critic Lawrence A. Johnson called the secret sale of three Classical South Florida (CSF) radio stations unconscionable and despicable. The stations were sold to a religious broadcaster who immediately switched them to a contemporary Christian format. Former station owner, the Minnesota-based American Public Media Group said the stations were losing money to the tune of $8.93 million in FY 2014. APMG executives were faulted for not announcing that the stations were up for sale, which would have allowed interested parties to buy the stations possibly organize financing to continue the classical format. In fact, Classical South Florida continued to fundraise and gather donations from classical music supporters even though the owners knew the station was close to being sold. Supporters of the former station are asking for an FCC investigation.