The American Federation of Jazz Musicians Local 802 is trying to win pension benefits for jazz musicians who play in New York City clubs. In 2007, Local 802 fought and won tax relief for NYC jazz clubs, with the expectation of state legislators that the clubs would use this money to provide pension benefit contributions for jazz artists. Now that the tax money has been made available, the club owners have yet to put the money towards benefits.
In this interview, Local 802 Jazz/Education Representative Todd Weeks lays out the history of the Justice For Jazz Artists campaign and talks about the importance of pensions and other benefits for the musicians — young and old — who play jazz.
HOW YOU CAN HELP: Visit the Justice For Jazz Artists Web site and sign the petition in support of pension benefits for jazz musicians. If you live in the New York City area, there’s a rally on Tuesday, September 29. Details are at the justiceforjazzartists.org.
Local 802 has also produced this video talking about the campaign, featuring musicians such as Randy Weston, Benny Powell, Dr. Billy Taylor and many others:
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