The New York City Council on October 7 approved a resolution of support for an organizing effort of Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians, called Justice for Jazz Artists. The organizing effort, which has gone on for the better part of a decade, is an attempt to have six prominent NYC jazz clubs recognize the union on behalf of approximately 3,000 musicians and agree to bargain with the union. The clubs generally treat the musicians as independent contractors, not employees. But independent contractor status is increasingly under attack on multiple legal fronts, with unions aggressively asserting employee status and coverage under the NLRA. The stated goal of the organizing effort, which has the support of many prominent entertainers including Harry Belafonte, is to gain improved pay, benefits including a pension fund, certain recording rights, and a grievance process for the musicians. To date the clubs have not agreed to the union's call for bargaining, a call that was renewed in a union statement released on the day of the City Council action. Are the days of improvisation, showing up late for gigs, and playing uncounted hours into the night numbered in NYC?
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Jazz musicians' union upbeat as New York City Council votes to support union organizing effort
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