The Get Back Committee Report
Posted Date: November 19 2021We began this committee in March of 2020, as the pandemic was sweeping across the world. The members of the committee have been Kaz Kazanoff, Russell Shores, Floyd Domino, John Arthur Martinez, Jonathan Rouse, Daisy O’Connor, Aaron Lack, and Felicia Hellems, plus some guests. We formed the committee initially to help our members and central TX musicians to deal with the Texas Workforce Commission, or TWC. By the end of March 2020, new federal unemployment benefits were available to states. It took the TWC several weeks to retool their guidelines so that they could accept unemployed self-employed workers’ applications, and even then, completing the application was often a rocky road. Hence the “Navigating TWC” committee, which was our original name. We were learning as we went along, with help from Krista Kyle in State Senator Judith Zafarinni’s office. I was lucky enough to discover a couple of sources of help within the TWC, as there were a myriad of difficult questions raised by our members with sometimes complicated answers! The union provided help as well, as we were able to confirm with TWC that our local Hiring Hall meant that union applicants did not have to do their own job searches. Over more than a year, we helped at least 150 musicians with TWC related issues. During our regular Friday Zoom meetings, we also gradually began to discuss other issues of the day that related to our union. As the unemployment benefits began to run out in June of 2021, this made it easier to pivot our focus to more general issues. Many of our members were getting back to work, so we changed the committee name to The Get Back.
by The Get Back Committee Chairman, Kaz Kazanoff