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Jazz Musicians Expand Pension Protest

From The New York Times:

The musicians’ union for New York City has begun an advertising campaign and plans to expand protests outside of jazz clubs as part of its efforts to win pension benefits for jazz artists, union leaders said Thursday.

The union, Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians, started handing out leaflets outside the Blue Note in Greenwich Village in December, arguing the club owners have reneged on a promise they made to the union in 2006 to begin contributing pension benefits for jazz musicians in return for a sales tax break passed by the legislature. No formal agreement to finance pensions for jazz artists was ever reached between the union and the clubs, and some club owners even dispute the union’s claim that they made a tentative pact to do so.

On Thursday evening, the union plans to expand the leafleting campaign to five other prominent jazz clubs – Birdland, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, the Iridium, Jazz Standard and the Village Vanguard. In addition, the union is taking out ads in jazz publications to call attention to the plight of elderly jazz musicians who lack pension benefits.

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