Archive for April, 2007

LESSONS FROM THE MEETING/THANKS TO RMA MEMBERS/DELTA/SAPPA/COMMENTS

Monday, April 30th, 2007

LESSONS FROM THE MEETING

I. A THANKS WE NEGLECTED – RMA MEMBERS VOTING THEIR CONSCIENCE
II. LESSONS FROM THE MEETING
III. DELTA BOYCOTT LIFTED – THANK YOU AFM!
IV. SAPPA Charitable Contribution Request
V. MEMBER COMMENTS!

Greetings Local 47 Colleagues!,

Once again, thank you to all the LOCAL 47 rank and file for coming down and protecting our voice!
The RMA Administration brought out their “A” level game and we, the rank and file, prevailed!

The RMA, has admitted that they lost on Monday, putting out the confirmed results themselves on
Thursday. The results were also on the Local 47 website as of Tuesday morning.

I. A THANK YOU WE NEGLECTED

There is a needed thank you that we were remiss in making in the first email after the meeting. With the voting so very close it is certainly possible that the votes that put us over the top came from RMA members who dared to go against “RMA expectations” and vote their conscience.

All the rank and file members are in your debt.

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MEETING/ELECTION BOARD/RESOLUTIONS/MAJOR VICTORY/WRITE TO US!

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

IN PRAISE OF JAMBALAYA

I. THE MEETING
II. ELECTION BOARD RESULTS
III. RESOLUTION DETAILS
IV. THE ELECTION BOARD
V. NOT ALL WENT WELL, BUT THIS WAS A MAJOR VICTORY FOR
THE MEMBERS VOICE!
VI. PLEASE WRITE WITH YOUR IMPRESSIONS!

DEAR LOCAL 47 COLLEAGUES!,..

If you feed them they will come!, or if their voice is in serious
danger. We had a great turnout for our Cajun dinner before the
meeting! A big thank you to the FMA and other volunteers for
supplying a great meal!

I. THE MEETING

The meeting itself was attended by approx. 404 members! We’d
never seen so many members at a meeting! The RMA had sent
5-6 emails, at least one snail mail and even made phone calls to
their members to be at the meeting. One person even joked that
“Even the 6-figure July Check people came out! We had never
seen such a call out of their troops before,….. BUT,…..

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WORD BEFORE MEETING/RMA’s LATEST/COMMENTS

Sunday, April 22nd, 2007

I. FINAL WORD BEFORE TOMORROW NIGHT’S MEETING
II. SEE THE RMA’S LATEST?
III. THREE LOCAL 47 MEMBER COMMENTS

Local 47 Brothers and Sisters,

Almost exactly one year ago this Monday, the membership of Local 47 did
an extraordinary thing. After being shut out of our own Local’s proceedings for over two years we took our voice back, and in the year that followed we made great strides in expanding that voice.

Now, one year later, Elements of the RMALA and the Espinosa Administration (represented by RMA VP Marc Sazer and Gary Lasley from the Espinosa Ticket) are trying to take it away. The RMALA has sent out more emails and made more phone calls than we have ever witnessed before to tell their members in no uncertain terms that they are expected to show up and vote the RMA way.

If you don’t think losing your voice in our Local will affect you, think
again.

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FMA LISA HALEY MESSAGE/JUDGES NEEDED/COMMENTS

Thursday, April 19th, 2007

I. MESSAGE FROM FMA PRESIDENT LISA HALEY 4/19/07
II. JUDGES NEEDED THIS SATURDAY (TOMORROW) for PTSA
III. MORE MEMBER COMMENTS

Colleagues,

Please make sure you tell all your fellow Local 47 members about
Monday’s meeting. We must defeat all three Resolutions and fill
the two vacant Election Board positions with members who are
independent of ANY special interest group!

THE COMMITTEE

—————

I. MESSAGE FROM FMA-L.A. PRESIDENT LISA HALEY

Dear FMA Members:

Please give this a quick read – this is the “Nutshell Facts” version –
not “editorial.” If you only read one article about the upcoming
Mon, April 23 ’07 Local #47 General Meeting meeting, this should
be it!

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APRIL 23rd/OPPOSING MENTALITY/OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN GUY/COMMENTS

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

I. WHY BE AT THE APRIL 23rd MEETING
II. THE MENTALITY WE’RE UP AGAINST
III. Rebuttals to Other Side of the Coin Guy by Committee Members
IV. OTHER COMMENTS

WHY YOU SHOULD SCHLEP DOWN TO THE UNION MONDAY APRIL 23, 7 PM at the Local

3 reasons:

1. Cajun dinner, 5:30 pm, prepared by the Freelance Musicians Association.

2. Quorum Controversy

As usual, it’s essential to be at the Local 47 meeting this Monday evening, April 23. The major topic sounds boring—what size the quorum for a general meeting should be.

But nothing could be more undemocratic than the bylaw proposal to be voted on: to increase the number of members needed for a quorum to 170.

If this mean-spirited proposal passes, 170 is such a high number that there would hardly ever be a general meeting again. And that’s the reason for the proposal—to lock out the membership from having any say in the running of our union.

Brief quorum history:
As more and more members moved farther from the Hollywood area, and as the traffic hassle increased, the trend was always to lower the quorum size in order to have membership meetings.
1. In the good old days, 300 or 350 (I’m not sure exactly)
2. When that became too high, quorum was lowered, eventually to 100
3. A few years ago, quorum was lowered to 50
When the quorum was 50, there were many excellent membership meetings.

But one time when there wasn’t a quorum, the Executive Board went ahead and increased the quorum to 100. Why? Had more members moved back closer to Hollywood? Had driving conditions improved? No. The reason was to make it harder to have membership meetings. The Executive Board said they “knew best.”

For the next 2 years, with the quorum at 100, there was not one membership meeting. The Espinosa Administration used those 2 years to dismantle live and casual members services and fire the employees most valuable to members, those except the recording musicians, that is.

Then, a year ago last January, with an impressive turnout by the membership, we succeeded in lowering the quorum back to 50. 50 is the magic number that gets us a quorum these days. Whenever the quorum is higher than that, we don’t have consistent meetings.

So now the powers that be want to hike the quorum to 170. Some people just can’t stand to lose. This is an outrageously blatant attempt to disenfranchise us. Come to the meeting and show our power.

——————

II. THE MENTALITY WE’RE UP AGAINST

In the runup to this Monday’s meeting, which will frankly decide whether our Local will be owned by the Local 47 rank and file members or the RMALA, we wanted to remind our colleagues of the mentality we are trying to fight against when dealing with those who believe anyone not in the “elite” are amateurs and not worthy of consideration.

Hear is OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN GUY’S recent email.

who are you?? Do you have a name besides “the committee”?? You are misinformed, misinforming,
you cowardly attack those trying to make a living and those representing us and make a myriad of
false accusations at people who have names…individuals with names…not simply institutions, yet
you have never attached a name to any of your attacks. If there is a “recording elite” it is largely
because the AFM has done nothing to preserve any of the music industry, including recording, as it is
run by primarily inept and failed musicians with no business skill, savvy, or even a desire to engage
people in the industry who are trying to get the simplest of information from them, such as rates. So
the industry has come down to a few survivors. The AFM has bungled and destroyed our business for
years. We have watched every major market fall, and now we are watching them try to whittle away
Los Angeles, which you seem to be eager to assist them with.
The RMA is not the enemy of the working musician-you are. Your petty jealousies vented through
this pathetic excuse for a faceless organization that can level anonymous attacks at whosoever it
chooses while never stepping forward with a face or name to back up your cowardly and
unsubstantiated accusations is what is going to turn what once was a lucrative industry for many into
a hobby for a few.
I do not trust your motives at all. I would have a better idea of what you were after if I knew who you
were. The RMA is not exclusive, and anyone in the AFM is free to join at whatever level you choose.
They are trying to prevent the wholesale destruction of what has been and should remain a lucrative
market for many.
No one is trying to exclude you, whoever you happen to be. Fact is there have always been and will
always be first calls for everything; writers, players, copyists, orchestrators, and attacking those who
work and trying to whittle down the contracts is not going to change that. You think by decreasing
the value of the market you will suddenly have a chance at getting more work?? You are a fool if you
do. Have you ever thought that the recording elite are the recording elite because they are the
professional elite, and do the best job of anyone available?? People do not survive in this biz for
years by being mediocre, unlike the union officials who draw six figure salaries in New York, at your
and my expense. They are there because they repeatedly withstand the heat, musically and
professionally, and that is a fact of life. People come and go all the time; new faces in, old faces out.
It is not a gentle or forgiving business. You have to persevere, produce, and cope, and you have to
do it all smiling. In the height of this industry’s hey day there were musicians who quit, became drug
addicts and alcoholics and even took their own lives because of the pressure of what we do and the
frustration and stress that it can cause. And this was at a time when there was ample work; no
computers, no synthesizers, no Seattle or Salt Lake, limited overseas competition and no fiber optics
making file sharing a possibility between cities or continents. Television was flourishing as was
record dates. Even then it was hard. But people did not attack their own contracts and the contracts
of those trying to protect us as they do now. Calling a group of players “elite” and attacking them
and the RMA may help you vent but it does not further the cause of recorded music in Los Angeles,
which if we think as a unit we may still be able to save. We all have our horror stories in this
business, but demonizing a segment of our industry, especially the recording musicians who are
essentially keeping this union afloat, serves no purpose except perhaps to make yourself feel a little
more powerful, like a civil servant denying rightful access to someone simply because he can,
because it is the only power he can wield in his pathetic life. It is petty, vain and spiteful, and filled
with untruth and deception. Movies make TONS of money. The issue is how to maintain our fair
share of the profit, not how to undo those who still are managing to work under existing contracts.
Stop attacking each other-start pointing fingers at New York, and find a way to make our local more
independent and responsive to the needs of the musicians in Los Angeles.
Amen

————–

III. Rebuttals to Other Side of the Coin Guy by Committee Members

The above letter elicited comments from a number of the COMMITTEE members and others who have seen this email, Below you will find their comments.
In response to “Amen”
You’re preaching to yourself. Stop believing you’re walking on water. You are about to be displaced yourself.
The arrogance of some people, not all musicians but individuals who can’t see beyond their nose. All the musicians in LA could be replaced tomorrow and no one would even notice except those who were displaced. Life would still go on. That is exactly what has been going on in Los Angeles over the past twenty years.

This has nothing to do with first call players. This is all about positioning and removing competition. Containment by a few to prosper. If there are persons out there that truly believe that they are the best the studios have they are misleading themselves. These same people want to monopolize what’s left as if they haven’t done enough damage as it is. And at what cost?

These same people are trying to lay blame on one person, Tom Lee. Look a little deeper and see that while you were taking your checks to the bank there have been hundreds of professional studio musicians getting displaced. Not because of Tom Lee. It is you who don’t understand and are caught up in your own ignorance. Continue patting yourself on the back for being one of those irreplaceable studio musicians, the very group whose greed has hastened the demise of Los Angeles in the last twenty-five years. Or is it only now you speak out when the damage has been done? It has finally eroded to your doorstep. Keep listening to the RMA. Everything they say is the truth or what you believe is the truth? You might yet be replaced by another equally talented musician or better. Wake up. You are fooling yourself.

————–

You know as well as we do it is the outrageous business practices of the RMALA and their contractors who created the situation where employers searched for other places to go to save money and hassle. The AFM had nothing to do with the greed and selfishness of the RMALA elites and the quadruple and triple scales charged for years, much less the contractor practices of booking the major rooms in town, taking them out of commission, canceling all except one at the last minute, or overbooking
players on purpose, then canceling all but those that are needed at the last minute (72 hours before).

Of course, now that those practices have driven most of the work away you want to blame forces outside Los Angeles, like the AFM and Tom Lee?
That’s rich.

If you were not aware of the practices above, you’ve been kept in the dark as well. Of course, that hasn’t been done so much lately because they can’t get away with that anymore, there isn’t enough WORK TO DO THAT!

The RMALA and your contractors have been the authors and finishers of the fate of recording in Los Angeles. Now that we all have to reap what you have sown, you try to hand it off? Pathetic.

Look deep… you know we speak the truth. If you don’t, that’s your choice.

————–

I have been thinking that it has been shown by the RMA’s participation in the recent past ,that unless “THEY ‘show up to vote at every meeting, the other 98% of the membership will force the elected leadership to “equally represent all members” by getting the quorum to a level that will represent the rank and file. They (RMA) lost temporary control of their monopoly when an unprecedented effort was made (after two years without a quorum) by other than that most powerful minority in our union , to demand that the “services be reinstated” to serve the 98%. (That of course being the CD Promotions, Studio 47, and the Network , which is now little more than a joke.) It is blatantly obvious that the union leadership is only interested in furthering the cause of whoever gives them the votes.,,,not equal representation… as is required by law. I will quote Hal’s own words to me….”Well, when you (the collective) are here and you have the votes, I have to do what you say ….and when the RMA is here and has the votes, I have to do what they say”. Where is leadership here? There is none.

The RMA has a fantasy lifestyle that some of them have been able to support, as the ultimate freelance group. To suggest that it is proper for those myopic 2% have control over the 98% is a ridiculous argument. The charts and grafts proffered by them to justify their position does not take into account that the Locals they are comparing themselves to don’t have a core group such as themselves that can commandeer the whole local for their own ends. The law calls for equal represent ion. We do not have this in spirit or in fact by Hal and team.

Yes, the world is tougher. Not just for us but for many other “manufacturing industries”, What we need is real leadership and a vision for the future in our profession and participation. Hal and team are short term prospectors…not long term leaders

————–

IV. OTHER COMMENTS

Interesting words from Chris Tedesco. I can’t believe it has been 12 years
since the Seattle Symphony went non-union. How can we compete? We all know the reason the work has left is because of special payments. Yeah, they’re great but at what cost? A few of us can live off the work that’s left & Special Payments, but what about the rest? Let’s face it, something has to be done. This situation is not working itself out, it’s been 12 years!

Lose your vote and be misled
Or regain the integrity of being a professional recording musician

Does the RMA deserve your vote?
Is the RMA removing your vote?

Why don’t you ask the officers of the RMA yourself?

Ask if in 2002 the RMA initiated an increase in wages of recording musician’s to qualify to vote on national contracts.
Did in 2005 RMA again initiate to increase the amount of wages of recording musician’s wages to qualify to vote on National contracts again?

While there are many musicians working in the field of motion picture and television in Canada, New York, Nashville, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Is the RMA in Los Angeles attempting to represent only themselves while slowly taking the work from all the other RMA recording musicians? The more they remain in control, the Los Angeles RMA are not just taking all future opportunities away from Los Angeles musicians but everywhere.
Through RMA’s own greed and insecurity are they trying to change what the AFM stands for and create a system for themselves? Ask them. Are they trying to mislead you to turn on the AFM?

All we need is the RMA to select an incompetent replacement for our AFM leadership. Someone who responds to the RMA like putty. This would remove any hope for professional musicians in the recording field to ever establish a career as a recording musician if the RMA is to succeed. There will be no future until musicians become aware of the circumstances that have taken over our own Los Angeles Union while the local’s leadership stands by and allows it to happen.

Why don’t you ask Local 47 elected officials what’s going on? See if they can give you a direct answer to any of your questions. Or do they respond using the RMA’s party line statements to further confuse the membership to turn on our AFM so they can allow the take over to continue. Ask yourself what are their gains?

————–

How is the RMA representing professional musicians? POORLY
Unless you’re one of those RMA musicians in Los Angeles on the “LIST”. Don’t hold your breath if you think your going to record in this town any time soon. To get their agenda they are misleading the rest of LA’s finest into believing RMA’s cause is in their best interest.

Maybe a letter should be sent to Los Angeles Production studios. So they could learn that they are being short changed because of a few musicians trying to control their industry,… giving them fewer options for their productions. Why should Sony, Paramount, Warner’s, Production Studios be short changed by being forced to take what they’re given. Unless they’re also being mislead by the very contractors who work for them.

Allow competition back into the work place and get rid of the entitled complacent people who fill those positions. Lets get back to serving our industry with professional musicians. Not whom the RMA Los Angeles stick’s you with.
————-

A Pattern Of Behavior.

International Professionals want Leadership to represent them. Don’t be short changed by what professional musicians in Los Angeles have had to struggle with. Leadership anticipates and prepares for change not someone who only struggles to get through the present.

Maybe the membership of Local 47 should stop paying membership dues and work dues. Our President’s behavior elicits this. Maybe he would see what it’s like to work these days. Maybe the clarity would return to how much money our professional musicians mean to this Local. That may put him in touch with reality again.

This may not mean much to most members but if they would find the time they would uncover a behavior that has been going on since taking office.

So he’s off to run for International President. Maybe the entire International both Canada and the United States should stop paying their union membership dues in protest to what will happen if he takes office.

To the International Musicians, let the AFM hear your voice before the RMA takes it over.

APRIL LOCAL 47 MEETING APRIL 23RD/ASMAC FEATURES CHERYL FOLIART/COMMENTS

Saturday, April 14th, 2007

Greetings Colleagues!,

I. Reminder of vital Local 47 meeting April 23rd.
II. Disney Director of Music Cheryl Foliart at ASMAC Luncheon
III. Member Comments

I. Reminder of vital Local 47 meeting April 23rd.

On Monday April 23rd, a week from this Monday at 7pm at the
Local, the future course of Local will be decided. Gary Lasley and
RMA VP Marc Sazer have submitted 3 resolutions which, if passed,
will consolidate the recording elite’s and Espinosa administration’s
power over our Local and shut down the members voice once again.
We need you at the meeting to stop their attempt to raise the
quorum to an absurd 170 and stop the members’ voices from
being restricted to only a regular Tuesday Board meeting.
We need all concerned Rank and File members to attend
the meeting and VOTE NO on all of Lasley/Sazer’s oppressive
resolutions.

The RMA has already put out two mailings urging their members
to attend and they must be outnumbered if we are to keep our
voice!
Also at this meeting: Two positions on the election board
will be filled by YOUR VOTES! Please come down and protect the
integrity of this board by voting in independent voices.

—————

II. ASMAC MONTHLY LUNCHEON FEATURES CHERYL FOLIART

Cheryl Foliart is truly a gem in the Los Angeles Film, TV and
Music Community. Take this chance to hear her speak and
perhaps ask some of the questions you’ve always wanted to
ask a studio Director of Music! These chances don’t come
along often, so don’t miss it!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007 @ Catalina’s

Cheryl Foliart’s career has followed a varied path, running the
gamut from award-winning instrumentalist, graduate of USC’s
prestigious music program, music producer, to music executive.
During this last phase her career has chronicled some of the
greatest shows in television history. Beginning at Paramount in
the mid 80’s, she had the opportunity to oversee such Nielson
favorites as Cheers, Family Ties, Webster, McGyver, Star Trek:
the Next Generation and the first series made for cable, Brothers.
During her tenure there, she was instrumental in organizing
hundreds of recording sessions, most of which were done at the
venerable Stage M, and had the opportunity to work with the
leading composers and musicians of that era. She has been a
long time champion of the live musicians here in Los Angeles,
and was a key player in returning live recording to television.
Leaving Paramount in 1990, she become one of the youngest
department heads at the Walt Disney Company, where she has
served as Vice-President since 1996. Over the course of her
Disney career she has organized and directed the day to day
activities on thousands of episodes of such television classics as
Home Improvement and the current hits Lost, Desperate
Housewives, Scubs, Grey’s Anatomy, Ghost Whisperer Criminal
Minds and Ugly Betty. Cheryl’s music background has been
indispensable in interfacing with composers and musicians and
her passion for the musical score along with her in depth
knowledge of our industry continues to make her one of the
most successful executives in the business.

Catalina Bar & Grill
6725 West Sunset Blvd. Hollywood, CA 90028
(1 BLOCK E OF HIGHLAND – north side of street – cor of McCadden)

Cost: ASMAC Members & Students $30 • Guests and all walk-ins $35
Parking: Valet $3.00 • Enter on McCadden – west side of Catalina’s – lot at back

Please make reservations by Tuesday morning, April 17th @ 818/994-4661
Or by email to syd@theproperimageevents.com AND check out our website—www.asmac.org

REMINDERS AND SAVE THE DATES
Wednesday, May 16th – 11:30am – Monthly Luncheon @ Catalinas
Honoring our Own – Sylvester Rivers and Chris Walden
Wednesday, June 20 – Monthly Luncheon @ Catalinas
Special Guest Speaker – Composer/Producer Rickey Minor, (Music Director, American Idol)

—————

III. MEMBER COMMENTS

From Chris Tedesco….

Rumors abound – and e-mails abound.

I need to straighten some things out – and feel to circulate this.

I am NOT contracting for New Era scoring – this is a co. that is
looking to do fi-core dates in town so they don’t have to go to
Seattle or London anymore to do their library stuff – hmm
money kept in town regardless – BETTER than going away many
say. They have done dates in town with other ESTABLISHED
contractors who had no business taking the job – but they did –

in fact – I heard they just did some more and I did not contract
but know the job got done dark – and that company has spent
money in town – better than going to Seattle some may say.

I sent around e-mails saying – “hey – FI CORE stuff – this may
be a way to put SEATTLE out of work – now, that is a goal – and
after 12 years of success up there with no signs of slow down –
I would think it’s time to get those jobs back any way it can be
done – regardless.

Studios closing, players in your elite class moaning about loss of
work – yet no progress

Producers are demonstrating DAILY that they don’t need LA for
lower budget or buyout projects

You may have been forwarded some e-mails of past. I call them
like I see them and this is in no way a blast on you. I am a flag
waving AFM, RMA, local member all the way – You have to get
rid of the “me versus you” – and get all parties of the RMA and
local working together to end this Runaway scoring issue.

I cannot watch another composer who lives here, works here,
makes his or hers deals here not being able to score here – now
how sad is that? – every job is sacred, period, and every job done
out of town is a travesty. I don’t have the solution either. …. just
a lot of complaining players that are not in the elite recording
status not working

You have to wait 4 to 6 weeks to get open dates form Simon
James in Seattle now – nice

Union wise – I file many union contracts for jobs in town – live
and recorded – so I am not A UNION BUSTER. The first thing out
of my mouth when someone calls for anything (live or recorded)
is….”can it be union?” – always. I get my health insurance from
47 and lobby for it always.

There are MANY able players in town not part of the “nifty” 100
to 250. ALL are afraid to say what is going on- and maybe I am
the only dummy to say it in e-mails publicly. But ya know, AGAIN,
after Seattle’s 12 years of successfully taking the middle and
lower end of the recording biz – something has to be done –
frustrated and venting here.

I am not the guy offering up a buyout, giving in to producers etc –
I DON’T have the answer – I’m just getting people talking about
the issues.

I want to be the guy picking up the phone calling players for
work – it is an un-truth that there is only one or two contractors
in town that can book a great orchestra

And by the way – there are many “elite” players still doing dark
dates all the time – and why are these people deemed teflon
proof and continue to work regardless in the elite sessions????
Would you like names?? there is a horn player in your section
that does them at a composers home studio.

AND…..what about composers that ARE in the AFM and RMA
taking jobs up to Seattle – what is right about that? – it says in
the by-laws that composers are bound by the same rules as rank
and file.

There is NOTHING right about any of the goings on with all this.

Who’s fault is it that a job comes out of the gate with the stamp –
NO AFM!

thanks

Chris T

—————

Well

Pension going down by a quarter % – not enough going in front
end I guess as the Titanic still takes on water while everyone sits
around as Seattle flourishes

—————

You know these resolutions wouldn’t have been proposed unless
the RMA was absolutely positive they would have enough people
there to pass them. I hope your email list has enough people on
it to make a difference.

I for one would like more information on NEW ERA SCORING.
Sounds like maybe a viable solution to the problems we’re having.
If we lose our voices this time, I don’t think I am going to have
any more use for this union. Core Status is great if you’re getting
enough union work to make it worth while. The other solution
would be to resign from the union so they do not enjoy any more
financial support. Hit them in the wallet and they will listen.

—————

My husband is a substitute teacher (and actor, more
importantly!).

He is a member of UTLA, but chooses to only pay the
“Agency Fee” (their term, not mine). He pays a
portion of the dues (about 2/3), but so far has never
been turned down for any service that UTLA (United
Teachers Los Angeles) provides. He gets the UTLA
paper, UTLA has helped him with payroll issues., etc.
etc.
Is Hal right that you have to resign completely from
the AFM?

—————

What are you guys talking about exactly? What is this core
whatever stuff?

—————

An article about “Virtual Orchestras” and Theater appeared in the
NY Times this last Sunday.

It might be of interest.

The link is:


=1332388800&en=59e5d9c7608d743d&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

—————

Dear Committee,

I immensely appreciate all the efforts you are making on behalf
of the rank and file of Local 47. Although I live in San Diego now
and belong to Local 325 as well, I have come to appreciate the
power of AFM in Los Angeles. We have no clout here in San Diego
when it comes to recording contracts. In fact you may recall that
members of RMA were instrumental in the witch hunt for AFM/
Local 47 members here a few years ago. Some time ago, the
AFM unfortunately, for whatever reasons, refused to negotiate a
recording contract with San Diego musicians, hmm I wonder why.
A good friend of mine who shall remain unnamed was at the table
with them and they walked away.

This person thumbs their nose at the RMA every time they work
in the studios in LA.

I myself have been a proud member of RMA, don’t get me wrong.
But I resigned after what happened here in San Diego. I would
rather get less recording work than support a vindictive witch-
hunting organization, members of whom would just as soon not
see my face in studios anyway.

—————

Dear Mr. Lee,

Very nice to hear your recent comments in this February’s
2007 International Musician, “We must Make the Case for Live
Music”, and additional article, ” In Atlanta, Canned Music =
CONNED MUSIC.”

As you already know, these are some of the most pressing issues
facing musicians today. For more on this, please see attached
.jpg document, “Titanic Ltr to Industry”, 1998, and forwarded
email following this transmission, “[Fwd: Titanic/Irish Music]”.

Again, I appreciate your and the Federations’ efforts to keep
music “LIVE”.

Thank you for your time.

—————

It is clear to me that those controlling Local 47, including Lasley
and Sazar, have a vested interest in the apathy and, frankly,
stupidity, of the rank and file. They posess and seek to further
consolidate a concentration of power which is inherently un-
democratic, and is, in fact, socialist/communist.

The solution to a problem of this nature, regardless of which
specific business, is market activity, not centralized power.
Centralized power structures tend to be UNREFORMABLE. That is
why I quit Local 47 in October 2007.

The marketplace in Los Angeles needs, in my opinion, more
contactors, less monopoly, more unrestricted competition, and
more autonomy and self-determination among musicians.
Important steps in this direction would include shutting the
union down permanently, and making California a right-to-work
state.

My 2 cents,

—————

Thank you for the heads up. I will make every effort
to attend the 4/23 meeting. Is there something that
can be done to insure adequate parking for Members
attending this meeting?

BTW: I have a little “horror” story of my own
concerning on-line recording sessions and 47/AFM
inaction, non-replies, etc.

You may know that it’s possible to use file transfers
over the web to record music tracks. There’s a website
(www.sessionplayers.com) that has a list of “name”
musicians available to record tracks for anyone,
world-wide. This is a great use of the technology,
because it enables a musician/artist from (let’s say
Hungary) to have the talents of a Luis Conte play on
their (mostly) independent recording. Other players
use their own websites (i.e. russmiller.com) to do the
same thing. Industry mags like “Mix” and “Recording”
have had ads for online sessions for quite a while,
and evidently this is working for many
musicians/artists worldwide.

Months ago, I emailed 47 and AFM/NYC to ask that they
consider setting up an AFM site for online recording.
Sam Folio did reply, saying they were going to look
into this and get back to me. I also received a reply
from the 47 office saying the same thing.

That was in December, and even though I did follow up
emails there’s been no response to my inquiries.

Why “the powers that be” won’t set up an AFM
sponsored/backed site for members to use the web to
record and make some $$$ (along w/dues payments) is
beyond me.

What the (fill in expletive) is going on with these
folks? We can’t use things like Craig’s List because
they’re warning their users to go local only. Besides,
an AFM-backed site would add credibility to any Member
offering his/her services because of Union contracts.

But noooooo…….I haven’t heard a peep from anyone
and I have to ask myself “why?”. Is it because there’s
some “deal” to keep as much work as possible in
recording studios? Is RMA influencing them against
such a move? What’s the logic behind not seeing/doing
this on their own initiative? Especially since that’s
what we’re paying them (by our dues) to do? I’m at a
loss to explain this.

I can really see the AFM “imploding on itself”, and I
have to ask why am I paying dues when nothing’s being
done for me. This is REALLY jacked-up!

Isn’t there some sort of gov’t oversight (NLRB, etc.)
entity that can help us get things straight here?

One other thing i have to question is why doesn’t the
AFM have agreements w/ foreign orchestras and music
associations? Every month in Int’l Musician there are
ads for foreign orchestras, and there is always a
disclaimer that AFM can’t vouch for working standards,
etc.

What kind of bovine feces is this?

You may publish any/all parts of this writing as you
see fit.

—————

I am new to all of this so excuse me for having to ask, but
what ever happened to Barbara Markay? I thought she was
doing a good job.

—————

Hey. I’ve been getting a flood of these local 47 emails. They’re
very strange and scandalous. Are these official or sent by some
outside rebel? They’re always going on and on about the “Elite
150” etc. I didn’t know Barbara Markay was fired!

—————

Out here in Palm Springs, we still have at least one member of
#47, functioning as a contractor, who continues to hire non-
union musicians. I have brought this to your attention AND to
the attention of the Espinosa crew. I have yet to get so much as
an acknowledgement. What gives?

—————

Dear Local 47, Can I be sent a form to vote Absentia? Please let
me know how to go about doing this on a regular basis. I am
often not available for the meetings and I am sick and tired of
always getting the news about some sort of scandalous
behaviour going on there at the union, because someone wants
to take advantage of a certain situation. There is no wisdom
going forth at this time because beings do not currently have
sight. You must sacrifice/slay that urge to do what you know is
not right, because the more you look the other way the more
you open yourself up to not recognizing the truth when it is
presented and you will believe a lie. What’s done in the darkness
will always, ALWAYS find its’ way to the light, that is the nature
of all things!

—————

Many musicians like myself have been union members for 10, 20
years or longer. Speaking for myself, I joined the union mainly
for two reasons: (1) because I wanted to be able to do union
contract work in the hopes of making a sufficient living as a
professional musician and (2) because I believe in giving
strength to an organization that empowers working musicians
to be treated fairly and to increase the overall health of the
profession and livelihood of working musicians. Despite the fact
that I have not reached the ‘inner circle’ of those musicians who
can live very well on union contract work alone, I continue to
support the union with my dues. Over the many years I have
been a member, it has become obvious to me as it has to most
members, that despite the union’s efforts to create new contracts
and agreements that provide for lower-budget projects to be
under union contracts, I feel that these measures have only
accommodated a small percentage of work that might otherwise
be non-contract work. Furthermore, these measures have not
done much to create a wider base of work for the majority of
union members who do not fall into the ‘inner-circle’.

As a result, I would guess that the vast majority of those union
members feel disenfranchised from their union and often wonder
why they should remain part of it. Lately this has become an even
more divisive issue with some of the initiatives put forward by
the board, such as raising the quorum to a level that basically
ensures that future meetings will be held by the board without
the voice of the membership being able to participate. Further-
more, the existing policy of threatening members with fines for
doing non-contract work reveals a quandary in the the union’s
basic philosophy and a lack of understanding of the present
reality of the entertainment business. If you are lucky enough to
be in the ‘inner-circle’, you have almost no reason to accept
non-contract work. However, if you are part of the majority of
members, you really have three options: (1) do ‘dark dates’ to
supplement your contract-work, (2) change to Fi-Core status or
(3) do something else for a living. Considering that the minority
of union members who make a good living on contract work are
always being called for the best gigs and will continue to be
among the elite membership, my interpretation of the union’s
policy is that it is in effect saying to those musicians who are not
part of the elite membership, “we don’t want you to do music
full-time and we will fine you if you do.” If a musician is doing
something other than music to make a living, how are they
supposed to evolve as a skilled musician and end up in the
‘inner-circle’?

The truth is that whether or not a union member is doing non-
contract work, it won’t guarantee a member the opportunity to
join the ‘inner-circle’. I understand that the purpose of fines
against members is to get the union membership to boycott
non-contract employers in the hopes that they will convert to
union contract status. But anything short of a prolonged, total
boycott by all union members will not have any real effect on
the entertainment industry. Unfortunately we all know this is not
a comprehensive, realistic solution and the entertainment
industry – or at least a good chunk of it has already made up its
mind to avoid the union altogether – hence the rise of organizations
such as “NES” and “Fi-Core” union status. And once again, the
board’s response is to threaten the union membership with
exclusionary measures should they decide to supplement their
income in this manner. And don’t forget, these threats really
only affect those musicians who are not making a good living
solely from contract work.

So what is the solution? I will offer what might be a practical
answer, although I don’t expect the elite membership to find it
attractive, as they probably don’t see much to gain from it. What
if the union were to establish an annual-income threshold for
being vulnerable to fines as a result of accepting non-contract
work – say $50K/year? Or what if instead of the fine being a
maximum of $50,000 as it is now, it could only be a maximum
of 10% of your annual contract-work income? It would certainly
go a long way to stemming the inevitable surge of members who
want to change their status to “Fi-Core”, and it would likely
create a more supportive atmosphere for those members who
might still be on the fence of remaining in full-membership
status, or even remaining in the union altogether. Yes, this does
in some measure weaken the union’s collective bargaining
strength, but I would argue that the loss of dues from members
who resign or change their status, or the threat of fines which
keeps more dues-paying-musicians from joining the union does
far more damage to the union’s strength. Not to mention that the
veritable ‘horse’ has already ‘left the barn’, when it comes to the
entertainment industry’s long-established policy of taking session
work outside of Los Angeles. They already have the music production
resources they need and are not threatened by union boycotts.
For the rest of the industry that still supports the union, I applaud
them as they are getting the best musicians in the world to
record and perform their music and in my opinion that market
can be sustained by existing relationships. If the musicians and
contractors who are part of the elite membership maintain their
standards of excellence, there will always be a company that is
willing to pay for it.

So in closing, I am really speaking out for all musicians in the
hopes that we can find a shared reason to support our union.
That requires those who lead our union and make decisions on
our behalf to have an understanding of the reality of the industry
and a compassion for ALL members – current and future. Whether
the result is seeing more members convert to Fi-Core status or
causing fundamental changes in union policies towards its
members remains to be seen. But one thing is inevitable

– change.

————-

Thank you once again for your diligence and fortitude.

Well, there you have it.

I will be there.

————-

I read this and that about Local 47, its members, its rules, its
quorum, its bickering and all the little power plays that go on.
Most of that crap is really boring, and a sign (to me at least)
there’s no consensus at Local 47.

Something dawned on me a few years ago when I kept getting
threat letters from Local 47 saying I’d be in trouble if I didn’t
send my dues payment. I actually had to threaten Local 47 to
make them stop treating me like a criminal. These letters kept
arriving two or three months before the dues payments were
due, and I saw Local 47’s entire problem in one great flash of
recognition: Local 47’s only tool seems to be threatening its
members and their potential employers. In the many years I
have been a Local 47 member, the local has never once done
anything FOR me, they have only taken FROM me. Does this
sound familiar?

Now reflect a moment and ask yourself: just what the heck is a
union for, anyway? For sending bent noses if a player takes a
fill-in gig at a non-union club? To throw Molotov cocktails
through the windows of a non-union coffeehouse that allows a
folksinger to stand in the corner and play for tips? To intimidate
picketers at a demonstration by opera fans against outrageous
rehearsal demands by a bunch of rich, spoiled sissies with million
dollar violins?

These and other tactics and policies by unions are like killing
your milk cow for the meat. The results of unions that think like
this is that the very people they pretend to help make a living
are put out of work because clubs, restaurants, coffeehouses
and thousands of small, financially marginal establishments,
throw up their hands and simply say “with all our other problems,
there’s no freakin’ way we’re gonna suffer all the crap from a
musician’s union–especially when hundreds of really excellent
non-union musicians are begging us to let them play for free.”
What on earth makes unions think they can compete with no-
hassle music by threatening venue owners and piling paperwork
on them? They must be nuts! But do they even have a person
who specializes in non-union venues? Of course not. They’re
too short sighted to see any potential for positive public relations
by doing that–and of course that’s yet one more black mark
against union public image.

It may be a lot to ask for musicians unions to turn their entire
way of thinking upside down and actually try to facilitate live
music instead of looking for ways to penalize and fine people
out of the stupid desperation of thinking that’s all they can really
do. To think like a prison camp guard ready to shoot escapees
leaves unions only one sorry path to an ineffectual existence that
serves no one and pisses off everyone. Like the old saying “when
your only tool is a hammer, every opportunity begins to look like
a nail.”

Our union(s) need more tools, new directions, and a whole new
paradigm and way of looking at things as opportunities; to make
friends, improve public relations and image, be thought of as
sources of facilitation rather than obstacles to what clients want,
and get over the desperate, failing attempt to fine and penalize
people into hiring musicians who come with piles of paperwork,
extra tax hassles, and empty threats by powerless bureaucrats.

Every dollar I’ve made in music over the last 30 years was directly
negotiated by me alone–not one gig ever located for me or
negotiated by a union. My union dues are nothing but a tax
deduction. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see what that
means. I would have to suggest that like me, musical artists
need to think of themselves as the subject of their own self-
promotion. No union can get face-time with a potential client
and properly describe what the represented musician sounds
like, what skills he or she has, that he or she is known for being
on time and no trouble, etc. A few stars can’t support an
organization like a musician’s union, but many would argue the
union behaves as if that’s all they need, and screw the blue-collar
musician who don’t matter.

Any self-respecting artist should know they need to be their
own representative, and negotiate for themselves, not just
because unions can’t properly do that, but because to depend
on unions or any other organization to do that part of what is
clearly your own work, is to surrender personal responsibility,
power and control over your own life to incompetent surrogates
who do not have only your best interests on their minds.

————-

Three issues are addressed here:

1. The April 23rd meeting addressing the Quorum issue…AGAIN…

2. This new profit making company call New Era Scoring…
Who actually have come about to compete with the Union which we
belong to for recording session jobs of any type…
(which not only means Film Scoring, but eventually Sony Records,
BMG Records and anyone else that records, and eventually TV…
eventually any company that wants to cut its bottom line from
their music budget…once the you open that door it’s very hard
to close the temptation of everyone to take advantage of it..

3. The Pro Musician’s Guild…
…which I still don’t understand much about
…perhaps you guys should get their mission statement, and other
legitimate statements in writing that they have given
…so we can further understand what they are really trying to
address…

they must have a reason for being…and they must have a story to be
told..
perhaps you should address that so we can get a balanced perspective…

so far I haven’t heard much, except this lists dislike for this
organization…

I don’t belong to it or the RMA, but would like to get a balanced
report on what’s up on this so I can make up my own mind…

I thought the words ‘responsible’ kind of indicates a certain amount
of ‘fairness’ and balance in reporting stuff…

so let us know the whole scoop…

for some reason the union leadership has not had a public relations
history as this list has..
they have their newspaper, but that doesn’t spend much time on the
issues that you are addressing either way…

They did briefly address the New Era Scoring in an email sent out
recently, but no one seems to go into any real detail…

The Film Scoring Network seems to be more interested in reporting a
‘pro’ point of view.
They also seem to report a ‘pro’ side to all buyout types of
agreements and no fee jobs, and jobs for royalties only, free
internships for professional composers who can afford to pay a
minimal wage,
libraries that want to take a complete 1/2 of your royalties to put
your music in their library offerings (not compensating your for your
costs of production, talent, etc.)…
I’m not in favor of the promotion of these types of trends by an
organization that is supposed to be pro composer organization…but
rather advertises for orchestras out of the country, state, etc. …

So, I hope this list has some perspective that is more centered…we
keep getting the extremes..no center…from lists…trades..etc…

————-

The only true threat to the AFM is the AFM itself….Tom Lee and
the administration in New York. And fools like you hiding behind
a “committee” which shows no face or name to take responsibility
for it’s inaccurate, uniformed statements and blatant character
assassinations. Whoever you are, you represent the height in
cowardice and hypocrisy.

————-

A Jazz Drummer’s Prayer

Our Father,
Who is Art Blakey.
Hallowed be Buddy Rich’s name,
Thy Dennis Chambers comes,
Thy Louie Bellson’s will be done
In Elvin, and by Erskine and Acuna.
Give us this Vinnie Coliauta
Our daily Papa Jo Jones,
And forgive us the mediocrity
Of most rock drumming.
Lead us not into “Boom Boom Pap”
And deliver us from drum machines.
For Thine is the Kingdom of Philly Joe,
The Power of Tony Williams,
The Glory of Sonny Payne
(regardless of current CD sales)
Forever and Ever,
Amen.

-by Adrian Peek

—————

DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE MEETING MONDAY, APRIL 23rd, at
LOCAL 47! YOUR RANK AND FILE BRETHREN NEED YOU THERE!

Until Next time,

THE COMMITTEE FOR A MORE RESPONSIBLE LOCAL 47

CORE STATUS/ESPINOSA CORE LETTER/NEW ERA INACCURACIES

Thursday, April 12th, 2007

NOTICE FROM THE AFM/ CORE STATUS/ REBUTTAL/ NES REBUTS HAL

I. CORE STATUS: THE BASICS
II. REBUTTAL TO PRESIDENT ESPINOSA’S CORE STATUS LETTER.
III. SOME INACCURACIES IN THE NEW ERA STATEMENT

I. CORE STATUS: THE BASICS

We’ve received several letters similar to this…
-Congrats on your success, you are an important part of the “democratic” process. My question is, what is this fi-core thing all about? Can you tell me where to find out about it?

Core Status has become a very hot topic lately. Our success at the meeting on April 23rd would not have been possible without enough full members willing to come down and protect our voice.

Below we are listing the basic PROS and CONS of Core Status. Please keep in mind again that the COMMITTEE does not encourage members to go core status. We much prefer the membership uniting to improve our Local for EVERY MEMBER, but our members deserve to be informed of all options available to them.

(more…)

CONCERTS/REMINDER OF APRIL 23RD MEETING

Monday, April 9th, 2007

CONCERT ANNOUNCEMENTS / REMINDER OF VITAL MEETING APRIL 23rd!

Greetings Local 47 colleagues!,

Don’t forget about the absolutely vital Local 47 membership meeting
on April 23rd at LOCAL 47. We expect the RMA elites will be called out to
try to shut down the rank and file voice by raising the quorum to 170. They cannot be allowed to succeed.

Further, all of us by now have seen Hal’s email about New Era Scoring
and Core Status.. We will fill you in on all the info concerning CORE STATUS
and NEW ERA SCORING, but we can’t help but laugh at Hal’s blatant hypocrisy.

(more…)