The AFM, after more than 7 years, has finally begun negotiations with the major TV Networks for a successor agreement covering Live TV/Videotape (American Idol, David Letterman, Academy Awards etc..). This has all come up at the last minute and negotiations are starting today in New York.
The Executive Officers of our Union (IEB) have not invited the Recording Musicians Association to those negotiations. In fact, the AFM Player Conference for recording musicians was not even informed about the negotiations, or given time to prepare for them.
Some Local Officers pleaded with President Lee to allow the RMA to attend the negotiations, but they were rebuffed. And in response to a written inquiry by RMA President Phil Ayling, President Lee confirmed that he would not allow your Player Conference representatives at the table or in caucus.
Late Friday, President Lee said we could now send proposals (something impossible given the timeline), but not participants.
Sadly, because we were not informed about the negotiations, RMA was unable to play its long-standing and appropriate role of meeting with members, reaching out to all of you for input, and gathering employment information. Offering the workplace knowledge and experience of people who work under both this agreement and other converging media contracts, is essential to successful negotiations and Union Democracy. Tragically, the interests of working musicians are now being sacrificed for an all-consuming need for power and authority on the part of the AFM President and his IEB.
No contract is an island, and harm done to the musicians who work under one agreement will, directly or indirectly, inevitably harm all AFM members.
Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.