RMA General Conference – Live from New York!

RMA General Conference

The 2018 Recording Musicians Association General Conference met on November 2nd and 3rd at Local 802 in New York. Delegates from New York, Nashville and Los Angeles gathered to share reports, discuss issues, hear from Local and American Federation of Musicians Officers and staff, and hold elections.

This year a new generation of Delegates attended, bringing together varied experiences and perspectives. New faces included Devin Malone from Nashville and Martin McClellan and Allison Allport from Los Angeles. Our newly elected RMA Executive Board reflects this new generation of musicians:

Marc Sazer, President
Danny Rader, First Vice President
Roger Blanc, Second Vice President
Martin McClellan, Treasurer
Allison Allport, Secretary
Devin Malone, Executive Officer
Lara Wickes, Executive Officer
Steve Dress, Delegate to the AFM Convention
Devin Malone, Alternate Delegate to the AFM Convention

On Friday afternoon, November 2, RMA hosted a forum at Local 802, open to all AFM musicians, titled “Musicians/Media/Union”. The panel presented a PowerPoint presentation focusing on the history behind our current pay structure for streaming in Live TV, Film and Television Film. A successful, wide-ranging roundtable discussion with the attendees and panel followed the presentation, ending, as Local 802 meetings often do, with musicians leaving for work on Broadway shows and concerts.

AFM Secretary-Treasurer Jay Blumenthal gave a wide-ranging report on AFM finances, AFM negotiations, the status of the move of AFM offices, preparations for the AFM Convention in 2019, and other issues that affect us all. Local 802 President Tino Gagliardi welcomed the Conference, and described his history of involvement with negotiations both on Broadway and national contracts, as well as his long participation in RMA. Pat Varriale, Director of the Electronic Media Division of the AFM provided a comprehensive report on the status of negotiations, and current media issues, and participated in discussions with the Delegates as a valued team member throughout the Conference. John Painting, the Supervisor for Recording at Local 802, also participated and helped us analyze wage and other data that is critical to our understanding of employment trends across the different contracts and cities. Jason Poss, AFM Rank and File Representative for Live TV negotiations, joined our Conference as a guest, and participated in our Open Forum as well. His broad knowledge of the history of negotiations, contract issues and real-life functioning of our contracts greatly enriched our discussions.

One issue that we discussed in some depth was the importance of touring in musicians lives and finances. AFM Director of Organizing Michael Manley, whose previous position with the AFM was as Director of Touring, spent a very productive session with the Delegates from each of the cities, discussing the different kinds of tours that travel on a regular basis across the continent, and what strategies the AFM might employ to bring benefits, coverage and predictability to at lease some parts of this industry.

The Conference reviewed reports prepared by the Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund, the AFM & SAG-AFTRA Intellectual Property Rights Fund, and more, We walked our way through the pension fund website online, reviewing the professional and effective legislative advocacy resources available to all participants.

A new committee was formed to help musicians lobby the U.S. Congress on behalf of pension reform that will provide a lifeline to our pension fund, an effort we have shared with you in the past, but which we will all be ramping up.

RMA would like to express our deepest gratitude to the Officers and staff of Local 802 for being such gracious hosts. We came away from NYC with a new and energized team – stay tuned; you’ll be hearing more from us soon!