Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Messengers With, and Without, Credibility

By now all delegates have received a multitude of mail endorsing candidates for the forthcoming elections of various officers to serve for the next term (which may be three years—we have an upcoming article on that). For instance, today brought another diatribe from the now identified C. Fernandez, consisting of page upon page of venomous accusations.

In judging these communications, we must examine the credibility of the messenger (using the term slightly differently than The AFM Observer). For example, Serena Kay Williams recently wrote a message which uncloaked C. Fernandez, and explained his underlying intent. Her message was a breath of fresh air, that illustrated her maturity, experience and wisdom. She is retiring, and speaks not out of ambition. Her credibility shines through in a single page, while C. Fernandez's lengthy tirades appear empty.

Another recent letter with credibility was Bill Moriarity's succinct explanation of the RMA issue, noting that they basically want to have "a voice in the decisions affecting their work." Bill doesn't make baseless accusations—he gives concrete examples of "seemingly purposeful slights by the AFM President." He is concise, level-headed, and most of all, credible.

The credibility of Steve Young's letter speaks for itself. I was fortunate to have personal experience with him, when he was president of Local 9-535 of Boston. Some years ago Local 143 was in preliminary negotiations with the sponsor of the Worcester Symphony Orchestra to renew its collective bargaining agreement (CBA), and it was the joint opinion of both that a third party could help with negotiations. Steve Young made his presence known, and impressed upon the sponsor that our Union of Musicians would hold up their end of the bargain.

In short, the best way to sift through all of the communications is to look at the messenger. This is how we can distinguish facts from attacks, reasoning from recrimination, and truth from falsehood.

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