Author Archives: Rank and File

RMA Conference 2016

The Recording Musicians Association held our biennial Conference in New York this past month, graciously hosted by AFM Local 802. Arranging RMA meetings always presents challenges unique to who we are; free-lance musicians with unpredictable work schedules. For 2016, we planned our Conference to coincide with a round of record contract negotiations in New York. This gave us the synergy of bringing more rank-and-file musicians into the negotiations, and the efficiency of inviting AFM and Local officers and staff who were already gathering for the negotiations. Continue reading

Negotiations – SRLA

This Thursday, we wrapped up a round of negotiations for our AFM Sound Recording Labor Agreement – the SRLA. These negotiations are between the AFM and the major record labels – UMG, Sony, Warner-Chapel and Hollywood Records (Disney). Each of the major labels represent any number of smaller subsidiary labels as well, and some other independent labels sign on to the SRLA once our negotiations conclude.  Continue reading

Beyond the Red Carpet – musicians go to Congress

Beyond the Red Carpet 2015 brought the U.S. Congress Creative Rights Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Judy Chu and Rep. Doug Collins together with labor and industry leaders to showcase the women and men whose skill, talent and innovation create the magic in the American film and television industry.

This year, with the participation of RMA, the American Federations of Musicians stepped up to share our musicians’ narrative in the halls of Congress. Continue reading

SRLA Collective Bargaining

The American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada collective bargaining agreement with the record industry is called the Sound Recording Labor Agreement (SRLA), and is binding on the major record companies and their subsidiaries; Universal Music Group, Sony Music, Warner Music Group, Hollywood Records (Disney) and others.
Our union representation for media negotiations comprises: Continue reading

Recording Industry Negotiations

Dear colleagues,
This past week, the American Federation of Musicians held two days of caucus meetings in New York to prepare for Sound Recording Labor Agreement negotiations. We gathered in New York at AFM headquarters in Times Square; President Hair, legal counsel, staff, officers and representatives of the International Executive Board and Locals around North America.

Your RMA Committee for these negotiations includes rank-and-file representative Neil Stubenhaus, 47 rank-and-file representative Steve Dress, and me as RMA President. We were joined in New York by Roger Blanc Gail Kruvand and Chris Parker, all officers of RMA-NY.

Our caucus is union-side only; we reviewed data, heard reports from staff and counsel, and grappled with proposals for us to make across the table, as well as analyzed what we expect the record companies to propose to us. Our RMA team had helped the AFM and locals gather crucial information about the functioning of the contract over the past 3 years; we would like to thank all of you who brought us your ideas and concerns that we were able to carry into the caucus.

One element that is unprecedented this time around is the environment created by the litigation against the companies that has been filed by our Pension Fund. You can read about the legal action, and even read the full legal filing, here:

We will travel back to New York for negotiations on September 28, and we’ll keep you posted about developments as they arise.

Stay tuned!

Marc Sazer
President, RMA

Just Sue Us

Dear Member:

Have you been thinking that our union has seemed to be on a “legal rampage” lately? Maybe that’s because we recently filed three different lawsuits against major Hollywood studios in less than two months.

These studios have violated our contracts either by recording scores outside the United States or Canada or reusing soundtrack clips without appropriately compensating musicians.

When we addressed the inappropriate reuse of clips during contract negotiations, one company representative said, “Just sue us.”

Resolving contract violations through grievance meetings or neutral arbitrators makes sense. No one wants to go to court. Musicians working under AFM Jingle and Broadway Touring contracts for example file grievances—not lawsuits—when there are contract violations. But our film contract lacks a grievance and arbitration process.

So we are going to court as one of the many ways we fight to uphold industry standards.

Musicians standing together have the power.

In Unity,
Ray Hair
AFM President

PS: Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to keep informed about our union.

AFM sues studios on behalf of musicians

Some film studios have apparently been re-using our own performances to replace us, in violation of our collective bargaining agreements. That means fewer jobs, fewer hours of employment on jobs, fewer new use payments and fewer health care and pension contributions. Piracy harms all of us. As a result, the American Federation of Musicians is now taking legal action in order to protect our livelihoods.

Variety: AFM Accuses Movie Studios of Bilking Musicians on Reused Music
The American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada has accused the six major studios of reusing film soundtrack clips without compensating musicians — including music from “Beauty and the Beast” and “Titanic.” read more here..

Hollywood Studios Sued for Recycling Film Soundtracks Too Much
A new lawsuit from the American Federation of Musicians counts dozens of examples, from ‘Bridesmaids’ to ‘Argo,’ where music wasn’t totally original. read more here..

AFM official announcement here

Read the lawsuit here