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April 15, 2024


Please see my response to this in the post above this one.

re: the AFM's role in this horrific situation:

Having worked as a union rep in a couple different unions for several years that were very solid in terms representational work (and conservative about legal liability), I have a very different perspective on the inevitability and necessity of arbitration.

Unions ROUTINELY decide not to go to arbitration for member grievances, for tactical, financial, and/or moral reasons. This is not unusual or risky. We pursue the grievances, not arbitrations, to avoid DFR charges.

Arbitrating the rapists’ September 2018 termination was a choice that 802’s leadership made—whether that was Tino Gagliardi in the fall of 2018, or the next administration under Adam Krauthamer that took over January 2019.

Not unlike the original #MeToo movement, this is a time of reckoning with forces of misogyny in classical music. People are seeing the incredible harms committed, and the tremendous courage of Kizer and Stewart. They’re asking what the union could have done differently then, how we can hold people accountable now, and what the union can do differently in the future.

It’s not remotely enough to speculate about legal justifications. To be a good leader, you take the right stand and then you use every tool you have, including legal advice, to do the right thing (and yes, in a way that minimizes risk to your organization).

Let’s not forget that the decision to arbitrate was made in the wake of #MeToo—thousands of folks, mostly women, risking their careers, public retaliation, and more to stand up and speak out against their abusers.

The AFM needs to do better in today’s moment of reckoning.

Some questions that are absolutely answerable by current AFM leadership at 802 and the international:

1. When did the final, non-reversible decision occur to go to arbitration for reinstatement of the perpetrators?

2. Who was involved in that decision? Was it the president, the executive board, or another body?

3. Was NOT arbitrating the grievance seriously considered by the local, and evaluated by union leadership and/or counsel?

4. Will the union put into place structures of accountability and transparency for when future cases like this occur? (While not perfect, many unions have arbitration committees to handle these cases consistently, avoid influence of individual relationships, and to minimize risk of DFRs when members are turned down.)

5. Will Local 802 and the international publicly join the call for New York Phil to release Cara Kizer from her NDA?

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