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:http://afm.org/announcements/companies-sued-for-failing-to-fund-pensions.
We will travel back to New York for negotiations on September 28, and we’ll keep you posted about developments as they arise.
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.
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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