The first round of negotiations between the American Federation of Musicians and the record industry are now behind us. The week of September 28 was spent in the offices of Proskauer Rose, the legal firm that represents the record labels.
The view from the 28th floor over midtown Manhattan is sobering. One can literally feel the wealth and power of our employers and their legal representatives. It is a testament to our union-side representatives and the many musicians they represent that we are able to engage with Universal Music Group, Hollywood Records (Disney), Warner/Chappell Atlantic and Sony Music as equals.
Our team consisted of AFM President Ray Hair, Secretary-Treasurer Sam Folio, Vice President for Canada Alan Willaert, Vice President Bruce Fife, Executive Officers Tino Gagliardi (New York) and Dave Pomeroy (Nashville), AFM Electronic Media Administrator Pat Varriale, Rank and File Representative Neil Stubenhaus, RMA President and Rank and File Representative for Local 47 (for this round) Marc Sazer, representatives from Locals Rick Baptist from LA, Michael Murray from Toronto, Dean Rolando from Chicago, Pat Hollenbeck from Boston and staff from the AFM and Locals, including Debbie Newmark from the AFM, Eric Dawson from LA, Dan Calabrese from the AFM Canada, Megan Thomas from Toronto and Steve Danenberg and John Painting from New York, as well as rank and file musicians Roger Blanc, Gail Kruvand, Andy Schwartz and Chris Parker, RMA-NY. Roger Blanc and Andy Schwartz also serve on the RMA International Executive Board, and both Schwartz and Kruvand serve on the NY Local 802 Execitive Board as well.
Our legal counsel included Patricia Polach from Bredhoff and Kaiser, and AFM Counsel Jennifer Garner.
We were able to have a full exchange of proposals, and began to develop a good understanding of the goals of each side. We were also successful, finally, in having the currently extended agreement signed by industry.
It soon became clear that there were a number of issues to work through, a great deal of information to be developed and exchanged, and these negotiations will take time. The next round will take place in New York in December. At least one future round is currently being planned to take place in Los Angeles. Between now and the next round, we will be arranging meetings and making ourselves available as much as is possible, in order to keep you in the loop and hear your thoughts and concerns.
Stay tuned for more information!