Connect with us

Work

For artists and gig workers, expanded emergency benefit access is ‘encouraging’ — but worries about the post-COVID-19 future remain

Published

on

Toronto drummer Nick Fraser has watched COVID-19 eviscerate the income and opportunity generated by his music career — including a scheduled tour in Italy. But for weeks, it seemed unclear whether artists, musicians and gig workers in similar circumstances would qualify for the federal government’s new $2,000 job-loss benefit.

Now, that question has been answered — at least in part.

Earlier this week, the federal government announced plans to widen access to the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit, originally intended for those whose incomes were entirely wiped out by COVID-19. Soon, it will open to those with drastically reduced earnings — expected to mean those working 10 hours or less a week, or earning less than $500 a month.

“I think it’s encouraging,” Fraser said. “That’s how the gig economy works. People have multiple streams of income and they’re going to keep the ones they are able to keep.”

While the news is a glimmer of hope for some, Montreal-based musician and photographer Tess Roby says she’s still concerned the federal government’s response won’t be sufficient.

On top of her now-paused music and photography career, Roby works 20 hours a week at a part-time job; as a result, she may not meet CERB’s new eligibility criteria — criteria she worries will still shut out too many people.

“It doesn’t surprise me that the government would leave those people out — people who are in precarious work, people who live paycheque to paycheque, people who are multidisciplinary,” she said.

“It’s really difficult to think that so many people would be forfeiting work just for a chance to qualify.”

For gig workers and artists, earnings are usually low and unpredictable in the best of times; a recent Statistics Canada study found the average annual income for those in the gig economy is $4,300.

“Gig-economy workers are part of a precarious job market — their employment is not a guarantee of a livable income. In fact, during this time, many are getting less income than before,” said Jan Simpson, president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

The union has called on the government to expand emergency support to both gig workers and those who do not have social insurance numbers, including international students and those who are in the process of getting their permanent residency.

“These workers already lack basic protections and almost never have access to benefits like paid sick leave. Their lack of protection forces them to continue working, even when they are unwell,” Simpson said.

Many workers now deemed essential, notes Fraser, are also among the lowest paid.

“The system is broken if you’ve got the most essential workers getting paid the least, getting paid so little that income support is going to be more money than they make in the first place,” he said.

For Roby, that reality speaks to the need for something more robust than a means-tested emergency benefit.

“I think we are closer than ever before to moving in the direction of a universal basic income,” she said. “I think that should be seriously considered by our government.”

That measure, she adds, would help support people like musicians whose income will be impacted long after the immediate COVID-19 crisis subsides. Spain recently announced it would roll out a universal basic income to deal with the pandemic’s fallout.

“There’s no foreseeable sight of when any of this will resume,” Roby said. “I think live performance is going to change after this. Even when people are allowed to go back to venues to concerts, are they going to want to go back?”

Roby says she’s grateful to have received numerous messages from fans thanking her for her music, offering them a brief escape from global angst.

Get the latest in your inbox

Never miss the latest news from the Star, including up-to-date coronavirus coverage, with our free email newsletters

Sign Up Now

“But I also can’t help but think, if you only knew how difficult this was,” she said. “This has exposed all of the cracks in our system.”

That, says Fraser, should — at some point — prompt some collective reflection.

“I hope at the end of all this there’s a little bit of a rethink about the value of people’s work,” he said.



Source link

Work

How workers are fighting for their rights in a dangerous gig economy

Published

on

By

How workers are fighting for their rights in a dangerous gig economy

Loading articles…


In today’s Big Story podcast, a few months ago, a group of couriers won a huge victory for gig economy workers in Canada. And you won’t believe what happened next…

We’re relying on this sort of work more than ever as we attempt to stay inside and order our meals and groceries delivered. And it has never been more dangerous. With that in mind, it’s a perfect time to explore the fight for better conditions for precarious workers in Canada, and how the pandemic has (and hasn’t) changed things.

host of Hustled

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

{* mergeAccounts *}



Source link

Continue Reading

Work

Powderfinger reunion gig draws 350,000 live streams on weekend

Published

on

By

’s stunning One Night Lonely virtual gig on Saturday night drew 350,000 streams, according to guitarist Darren Middleton.

By the end of the 30-minute broadcast YouTube, the donations tally was $427,000. But donations kept rolling in, and at such a rate that it is expected it will reach $500,000.

The money will be shared by and the support service Beyond Blue.

Support Act CEO Clive Miller told TMN its $250,000 share would continue to support its efforts to provide crisis relief and to facilitate its wellbeing and mental health services.

He said more money was always needed: “We’re trying to manage things so we can provide support to people who need it over the rest of the year.

“Things change every day but it is looking clear that we’re not going to have a snap-back and get back to normal … not until the end of this year and probably the beginning of 2021.

“From Support Act’s point of view, we need the liquidity to provide support to people who are facing financial hardship all along the road.”

Powderfinger reunited with Bernard Fanning near Byron Bay, Darren Middleton in Melbourne, Jon Coghill on the Sunshine Coast and John Collins and Ian Haug in Brisbane.

Miller said of the stream, “The production values were incredible, so well done. It looked great, sounded great, and they wanted us wanting more – which is what every great band does.”

Fans hit social media to urge the band to extend their reunion – and increased speculation that Powderfinger will be headliners at the 100% Australian Falls Festival, and a tour will follow.

More money is being raised for Support Act. James Reyne will donate profits to its Roadie Fund from his Sunday, May 31 Red Hot Sundays live streaming session.

It will be the first of the sessions put together by the Red Hot Summer Tour.

The idea is to employ artists, venues, production teams, sound engineers, booking agents, ticketing agencies, managers, graphic designers, publicists and music media at a time when their income is near-nil.

The stream is free, but fans are encouraged to buy a “virtual ticket” from $10 to $100 or T-shirt.

Reyne said: “I’m excited to support this initiative – the invitation to play live and give our industry an opportunity to get back to work, was really appealing to me.”

Reyne will preview tracks from his next album, Toon Town Lullaby, out July 10 on Bloodlines.

The 3 pm AEST acoustic duo show from the front bar of the Corner Hotel in Melbourne and will be live-streamed on the Red Hot Summer Facebook page.

Miller said of the unexpected Reyne contribution, “Like so many people at the moment, there are so many in the music community who are looking around and want to help …

“Support Act is humbled by the incredible support and amazed by the talent, creativity and passion that so many artists are demonstrating at the moment.”

If you or someone you know requires help, please contact Support Act on 1800 959 500.



Source link

Continue Reading

Work

Sal Capozucca, Rock Drummer with a Real Estate Gig, Dies at 65

Published

on

By

This obituary is part of a series about people who have died in the coronavirus pandemic. Read about others here.

The Rousers, a rock band formed by a couple of high school buddies from Connecticut, once veered close to stardom when a young Madonna opened for them at Max’s Kansas City in 1981, right before that incubator of downtown Manhattan cool closed.

That same year, the band released a single, “Party Boy.” “Psychedelic rockabilly” is how the critic Robert Palmer of The New York Times described it.

After the release the band switched out their drummer for Sal King — born Salvatore Michael Capozucca — a handsome, powerful player with a sparkly 1960s-era Ludwig drum kit and a florid, swing-inspired style. Like his new bandmates, Tom Milmore, the lead guitarist, and Bill Dickson, the bass player, Sal had been playing since he was a child. In his case, since age 3, when an uncle gave him a drum set.

Fame may have eluded the band, yet as the decades wore on and their hair turned gray, the Rousers continued playing. They rehearsed every week and performed year round, though some years less than others as family responsibilities and day jobs demanded more of their time.

Mr. Capozucca — or Mr. Cappi, as he called himself at work — became a successful real estate broker, with a specialty in Brooklyn brownstones. He married his longtime girlfriend, Veronica Griffith, in 1983. She had spotted him across the dance floor at Club 82, a storied drag bar on East 4th Street, 11 years earlier. On that night, Mr. Capozucca — always a flashy dresser (David Bowie was his hero) — was peacocking in blue satin pants and a white satin scarf.

Mr. Capozucca died on May 13 at N.Y.U. Langone Health hospital in Manhattan where he had spent the last two months being treated for Covid-19, his wife said. He was 65.

Mr. Capozucca was born on April 28, 1955, in Brooklyn. His father, Tony Capozucca, was a salesman, his mother, Betty Jean (Gibbons) Capozucca, a legal secretary.

As a teenager, Sal played at proms, weddings and street festivals. He loved Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa, and made sure to work a drum solo into his performances. In addition to his wife, Mr. Capozucca is survived by his daughter, Victoria; his brother, John, and sister, Vera.

“Things happen for a reason,” Mr. Capozucca told The New York Times in 2017, in a story about a new New York City club scene for aging rockers and their arthritic fans (early sets!). “It wasn’t meant to be. That life, that rock ’n’ roll life, is a life of heavy partying. So being famous might have led to my early demise.”

In late February, the Rousers played a gig at Bowery Electric, with a set that featured songs like “Old Man Band,” a sendup of the Rousers’ demographic (sample lyric: “older and slower than we were before/you should listen as we rock some more”). They played so well, said Mr. Milmore, they surprised themselves. “Sal called me the next day and said, ‘What the hell happened to us? How come we were that good?’”

Less than a month later, Mr. Capozucca was hospitalized.

“The band was always a celebration of our friendship and our long time together,” said Mr. Milmore. “We were just brothers, and it was always about that before anything else. Of course, Sal was always mad we weren’t famous.”

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2019 Gigger.news.