October 2009 Newsletter

AFM and Union Democracy, Part 2 In Part 1 of this series, we documented how the AFM green-lights runaway film scoring through “banking and exchange” and sends your jobs overseas. We also shared with you that the EMSD puts together “special deals” for Live TV/Videotape; that there hasn’t been a negotiation or updated contract in years. And we also described how AFM Officers recently hired a new person to direct operations at the AFM Electronic Media Services Division (EMSD) without any input from any of us.

Jingles and Process.

Jingles is one of our biggest national contracts, providing more than 20 million dollars in musicians’ wages each year.
The AFM last held a full negotiation for jingles in 2004. Since then, there was one closed, behind-the-curtain faux negotiation. It resulted in an extension, but there was no actual across-the-table collective bargaining.

We recently heard that across-the-table negotiations are being scheduled for a new Jingles Agreement and that the AFM has been collecting proposals. Unfortunately, we did not hear about this from the AFM. The AFM Player Conference for recording musicians was neither informed about nor invited to these negotiations.

Instead, the AFM has informed some hand-picked individuals and contacted some hand-picked Locals – not a word to your RMA Jingle Committee. FingersInEars

Going back many decades, the RMA has provided data, analysis, workplace experience and relationships with a wide variety of players in the field for Jingles negotiations. Our RMA Jingles Committee has traditionally given untold, unpaid volunteer hours to this AFM effort. We have worked hard to successfully contact Locals and players all over the Federation in an effort to craft smart, forward-looking and realistic contract proposals. All this is now being rejected by the AFM. 

Now whose voices will be heard? Who will offer workplace experience, knowledge and understanding? Which rank-and-file representatives will be allowed to attend?

No contract is an island.
When the AFM doesn’t protect you under one agreement, our employers get the message. Just as orchestra managers know what goes on in other cities, our media employers quickly learn where and how to take advantage of us.PuzzlePieces

Electronic media negotiations are entirely under the control of the AFM President and his IEB. They have moved to lock the Player Conference out of contract negotiations. This does more than violate Policies and Bylaws; it demonstrates a complete lack of common sense.
Every contract negotiation affects you, whether you directly work under that contract or not. Media contracts affect all of us.
So when you hear your RMA leadership expressing deep concern that there is no process, we have no oversight as required by AFM Policy and Bylaws, no democratic rights – it’s not personal. It’s business.

It’s about your work – It’s about your rights
Rank-and-file oversight is your only protection.