Archive for June, 2019


Monday, June 17th, 2019



…Absolutely guaranteed anonymity – Former Musician’s Union officer

…The one voice of reason in a sea of insanity – Nashville ‘first call’ scoring musician

…Allows us to speak our minds without fear of reprisal – L.A. Symphonic musician

…Reporting issues the Musicians Union doesn’t dare to mention – National touring musician




A short time ago, the entire administration of AFM Local 802 of New York was voted out of office by their membership.

Now comes news that the administration of AFM’s Philadelphia Local 77 has had their administration voted out of office as well.

Seems change is in the wind, with members across the federation fed up with the status quo.

Who’s next?

In another development showing the level of corruption at the AFM: After the former president of Local 802 was dismissed, the NOW former president of Local 77 (Philadelphia) was lobbying to gather the votes needed to allow the FORMER president of Local 802 to stay on the International Executive Board, even though he is no longer the president of any Local. Favoritism or cronyism? You decide.



Recently a recording entity in Los Angeles put an advertisement on youtube announcing the availability of a “Buyout” Contract for streaming services. Problem is, none of the ones we found is a buyout. It doesn’t exist.

We’ve looked at all the available streaming contracts and here is what we found:

• Live Concert AVOD/SVOD Internet Streaming Agreement

Streaming of the performances beyond the initial six (6) month cycle shall require an additional aggregate payment of 7% of any future gross receipts for each subsequent six (6) month cycle, with 3.5% to be forwarded to the appropriate Local for distribution on a pro rata basis to all Side Musicians, Leaders, Contractors and Music Preparation Musicians….

(No buyout here….)

  • On Demand Internet Streaming

Streaming of the performances beyond the initial six (6) month cycle shall require an additional aggregate payment of 6.6% of any future gross receipts for each subsequent six (6) month cycle, to be forwarded to the appropriate Local for distribution on a pro rata basis to all Side Musicians, Leaders, Contractors and Music Preparation Musicians.

(Or here….)

  •  Live Internet Streaming

Use of the performances for on-demand internet streaming for second and future cycles, shall require an additional aggregate payment of 6.6% of any future gross receipts for each subsequent six (6) month cycle, to be distributed pro rata to all Side Musicians, Leaders, Contractors and Music Preparation Musicians.

(Or here….)

  • Television Videotape Agreement January 27, 2013 – February 2, 2016

If an original New Media Production budgeted at more than $25,000 per minute (using the same cost elements as described in the third paragraph of Paragraph A above) or a Derivative New Media Production is initially released simultaneously on free-to-the-consumer, advertiser-supported platforms and to consumer-pay platforms (i.e., download-to-rent, download-to-own or paid streaming), then Producer shall have a twenty-six (26) consecutive week period of use on consumer-pay platforms, commencing with the first day of use on consumer-pay platforms, without the payment of residuals. If the Producer uses the New Media Production on consumer-pay platforms beyond such twenty-six (26) consecutive week period, then Producer shall pay 1% of the “Producer’s gross,” as that term is defined in Paragraph 9 of Side Letter 11 (“Exhibition of Television Programs Transmitted Via New Media”) realized from any subsequent license that includes use on consumer-pay platforms, which “gross” is attributable to use on consumer-pay platforms beyond the twenty-six (26) consecutive week period, measured from the first day of use on consumer-pay platforms under the first license. Said amount shall be paid to the Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund on behalf of musicians employed on the New Media Production.

 “Meaning: first 26 weeks are free, then 1% of gross proceeds need to be paid to Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund on behalf of musicians employed on the New Media Production.”

(No buyout after 26 weeks….)

This means, in every case above someone (A company) has to sign an assumption agreement. If they are not already a signatory that’s unlikely to happen, which means it’ll go elsewhere or nonunion.

Whomever put out the youtube video should read the fine print.



Local 802 is trying to blame Trump’s NLRB for the rise in members going Fi-Core. While we’re no fan of Trump by any stretch, to blame Trump for the rise is musicians choosing fi-core (A multi-year trend) is absurd and a pathetic attempt at deflection.

Please read the article below yourself:

This is how the Trump NLRB is targeting unions

By encouraging union members to choose “financial core” status, the NLRB has taken a decidedly anti-union stance

Volume 119, No. 6June, 2019


[email protected]

Out of all of the oxymorons that exist in the legal world, the phrase “right to work” has to be one of the worst. Those of us who are labor activists know that “right to work” really means “right to work…for less pay!” The “right to work” doctrine gives workers the opportunity to get a free ride on the backs of those who actually pay for the union.

There are currently 26 “right to work” states in the country and 24 states where “right to work” is not law. In those states, Section 8(a)(3) of the National Labor Relations Act allows union contracts to compel union membership as one of the conditions of being employed. These provisions, known as union security clauses, greatly assist unions in both collecting dues and also preserving majority status in a workplace. Without majority status, an employer doesn’t have to recognize a union as the collective bargaining agent of a group of workers. The union security clause also prevents “free riders” – workers who desire to reap the benefits of the union without financially supporting it.

However, as a result of several Supreme Court decisions, the requirement to join a union has been whittled down to what is commonly known as “financial core”,

 status. Workers who are required in their contract to join the union can request “financial core” status. When workers request this status, a union cannot charge them for services that are not part of “representational functions,” such as collective bargaining, grievance adjustment and contract administration services. What services a union can charge a financial core member is often the subject of debate, and most unions have appeal processes that permit members to challenge fees if they believe they are not part and parcel of union representational functions. This controversial subject has now engaged the attention of the National Labor Relations Board.

In March, the NLRB decided that union lobbying costs are not a chargeable union expense. (The case was United Nurses & Allied Professionals [Kent Hospital] 367 NLRB No. 94 [March 1, 2019]). On a technical level, the board wrote that lobbying is not the kind of activity that is a necessary part of a union’s statutory function as exclusive bargaining representative and thus falls outside the scope of permissible fees that may be charged to financial core members. Even though lobbying efforts may impact representational functions, the NLRB held that it is still too far removed from representational functions to be chargeable. Thus a private sector union (like Local 802) will have violated its duty of fair representation if it charges lobbying costs to an objecting member. Additionally, any costs remotely related to lobbying efforts cannot be charged.

This decision clearly hobbles a union’s effort to support beneficial legislation (such as national pension reform) by compelling it to front the costs for objecting members. To add insult to injury, the NLRB’s Office of General Counsel recently issued a directive that completely shifts the burden when a financial core member wishes to challenge a reimbursable union expenditure.

When presented with a charge they believe is improper, a financial core member has two choices: (1) proceed with a challenge utilizing the union’s internal procedure or (2) file an unfair labor practice charge alleging breach of duty of fair representation.

Prior to the new directive, the NLRB required financial core members to first utilize the internal union process before filing an unfair labor practice charge. The new edict now permits unfair labor practice charges to proceed independently of internal objections.

Furthermore, in a break from precedent, the NLRB will no longer require financial core members who file ULPs to explain why they believe a particular expenditure is improper. When a ULP challenging a union assessment is filed, the NLRB will now require the union to provide a “detailed explanation of the union’s chargeability decisions for each major category of expenses.”

With the burden now shifted, it is obvious that the NLRB has taken a decidedly anti-union stance. It is inevitable that more objections will be lodged and more expenses will be deemed non-chargeable.

As a result of these NLRB decisions, it is now more important than ever that union members be educated regarding the benefits of full membership and how the NLRB is prompting the financial ruination of unions by encouraging financial core membership. An informed membership is a strong membership!


Good point above,.. so let’s do the same for Fi-Core:

Choosing Financial Core (Beck Status):

  1. You pay 85 % of the dues full AFM members pay.
  2. Paying for union negotiations is already part of the fi-core fee.
  3. The only part of dues a fi-core musician doesn’t pay is money that goes to political campaigns or candidates.
  4. You are not included in the directory.
  5. You cannot attend meetings.
  6. You cannot use a Local’s facilities (Though your dues pays for the upkeep.)


  • You CAN work on any union contract and in any Collective Bargaining Agreement ensemble, and you will pay all applicable fees (Pension, Work Dues, etc.)
  • You CAN work on any nonunion job without fear of fines.

There is the phrase “Right to Work” (for less); but for more and more folks the phrase means “Right to Work (AT ALL).

This is particularly true of recording. Anyone who has been or is a member interested in media recording knows this.


People are going fi-core because 90% (maybe more at this point) of the union recording work is gone. The only hope they have of recording in a studio is on a non-union session, and don’t kid yourself, all the so-called “A” listers do non-unions sessions as well.


Because you can record anywhere in the world without paying a back end (Secondary Market Payments) EXCEPT with the American Federation of Musicians.

People have finally reached a point where they are done playing by the AFM’s rules because they have mortgages and bills to pay. Look at Seattle and Nashville. They are working hand over fist because the UNION work, the little that is left, is controlled by and funneled to perhaps .2 percent of AFM Members. Put simply, the rank and file need to work and they will not get that work through the union.

There are even a few other locales in the United States that have decided it’s time to work and are doing what they have to to get the work. Some of those entities are actually the ones bringing work back from Eastern Europe for US musicians, not the union. In most cases it’s work that would never be union in any case.

Let’s say you are a company or production house and need music for your production.

Your choices are:

  1. All synth (Terrible, but sometimes the only option.)
  2. A couple of live players over synth. (Far better but not what composers want.)
  3. Live orchestra – Union (a good choice, but companies will only sign assumption agreements if they have to. You also have to deal with the hassle, paperwork and backend payments.
  4. Orchestra (non-union) Little hassle, far cheaper in the long run and you own what you record.

So let’s be serious, if you have the choice of recording union here (more expensive, more hassle.) or recording in London cheaper with no strings, what are you going to do?

Save the platitudes, you know what you’d do if it’s your money.

The main argument? Well they have to keep books open for the actors, director etc. Why not for musicians?

Because there’s only one Tom Hanks or Francis Ford Coppola, but there are world class musicians everywhere in the world. The AFM has simply priced themselves out of the market with strings you don’t have anywhere else.


The situation with the pension is getting worse because more are drawing pension and fewer are contributing, because the work isn’t there. It’s simple math.

You can read up on all the latest pension news here.


Bring work back.


Buyout contracts.


Because the AFM is allowing itself to be influenced by a small special interest group to the detriment of 99+% of the other AFM Members.

Until that influence is gone, nothing will improve.

As was said before, there are literally DOZENS of places a company can record without harassment and difficulties (and backend) throughout the world: London, France, Mexico, Canada, Macedonia, Prague and Bratislava to name only a few.

Everyone knows the problem, everyone knows how to fix the problem, but for some reason people are still afraid to point to the Elephant in the Room. As long as the cowardice continues, the AFM will continue to shed members, become even more of a paper tiger and eventually cease to exist in the recording world.

The membership knows what to do. What will it take for them to do it?



Posting here so hopefully someone from the community will distribute my message:
To My Fellow Members of the Musician Community:

I recently was part of the Lion King Orchestra. Although I was grateful for the call that came from a contractor, Peter Rotter, who I don’t regularly work for, the experience left me feeling marginalized. Just entering the room on the first day, I realized why I was hired. They needed a room full of black people. That’s it. The other times Rotter has had a “black” room is when its been for Spike Lee, Denzel Washington, Dr. Dre, and whenever there’s a black producer/director in the booth he needs to prove something to.

I have a degree from a prestigious institution, play among the highest caliber players in the world in major orchestras and ensembles, yet I was only called for the color of my skin. Throughout the services, I heard things from the very white employers like “wow, this is a mixed group”. And the photos that these self-important white conductor, composer, contractor and concertmaster proudly posted showing that they hired us is nothing short of racist. I feel degraded by the whole experience, and I know that speaking to so many of the other black players there, that they shared in my horror.

You won’t see me working for PR again, not that he would ever call me for my qualifications.

I’m speaking out to encourage others to share their experiences that they shared with me privately.


hello editor!

Just in case the membership believes that members “in good standing” are “welcomed” to “observe” the weekly Board of Directors meetings at the Local.  Pleased be advised….there was a final and farewell meeting of a Board member who has decided to move from California…the Local had a buffet delivered (trays of various items).  Pres. Acosta suggested a “working lunch”.  The “one” observer was not invited…only welcomed to “observe”.



Interesting blog.
I’m well versed on the original 19 NLRB charges brought against Hair and his thugs. The true definition of the 14 guilty charges is forthcoming.

It’s rare with the NLRB to get one charge to stick let alone 14. The AFM’s email that was sent to it’s members/musicians is a typical inaccurate AFM smoke screen. The NLRB is part of the federal government and are well aware of their latest tactics…it’s now a serious matter. Also, there are other Federal Government agencies currently investigating the AFM. Tip of the iceberg….

Let me know if you need anything from me or my legal team.


From Larry Lippold

A good start. I thought Tino was going to come after me when I asked whether we need some people on the Pension board who knew something about investments at the TMA meeting a few months ago. Of course the Broadway musicians have a huge interest in the plan, as they are putting a huge percentage of their checks into the plan (I think it is 18%).

Getting Tino’s predecessor and Vince Trombetta off the board wouldn’t hurt either.


In reply to larry lippold.

A typical response by someone without knowledge of how the AFM-EPF and its board of trustees works. The board does not directly act in investing, hiring the same well-known actuaries and investment firms as do other funds. B’way musicians do not contribute out of their checks .Mgt. does the contributing based on an arbritator’s (Turkus) award from the ’60s giving musicians a percentage of ticket sales which has grown over the years as ticket prices have increased. Union-side trustees are appointed by the AFM president so no change there unless he wants it.


From Billy Sullivan

Getting a larger membership won’t fund what’s already underfunded.
That money should already be there by the pension contributions so far.
Where did the money go? Did someone take it or was it invested poorly?


In reply to Billy Sullivan.

A series of mistakes by actuaries responding to the Fed’s “overfunding” rules leading to upping the multiplier to 4.65 to current and RETROACIVE accounts plus the ’08 financial meltdown led to the AFM-EPF’s current troubles. Nobody took the money. 802’s president is but one of 16 trustees, unable to cure the fund’s problems as the new know-nothing presiddent will find out. He will not even be appointed to the board.


Hello Friends
Where has the blog gone? I sure hope it has not gone away!
Thank you for it!

[EC: Oh we’re still here, but not every week. We’ll be distributing through social media, so when we post please get it to all the AFM Members you know.]


Feel free to TEXT MESSAGE your Local 47 “President” John Acosta and let him know what YOU THINK about the job he is doing: 323-337-7631