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.

You cannot attend meetings nor vote. If the Local so chooses (this is something they decide to do or not, federal law allows it.), you cannot use the building, facilities or member services. As a core status member you cannot file contracts, including SELAs, but can be on the contracts of others. Further, should you become Core then wish to reinstate to full membership, the Local can make it as easy or hard as they choose to. Your name will also be removed from the Union Directory and you will be listed as resigned one time in the Overture.

Currently, full member dues are approx. $192, approx. core dues are $170.

If you do not wish to contract or have a voice in the future of our Local 47, Core Status could be a consideration.

You can do union or non-union jobs without fear of fines. When on a Union job you get Health and Welfare and Pension as before. Your pension is safe, and you continue to add to it when you do Union jobs and will draw and add to special payments as before when doing Union jobs. While the law says neither the Local nor any contractor can divulge that you are a core status member to other members, you cannot necessarily count on the Local’s discretion.



Heard of New Era Scoring? It’s the group trying to build a core orchestra in Los Angeles to try to bring back non-signatory work. Apparently they have been having organizational meetings much as the Guild has, though we’ve no letter from Hal about the Guild. Recently Hal sent out a blast concerning New Era Scoring with contained numerous inaccuracies.

The NES has asked us to send their rebuttal to Hal’s letter to all of you, hoping to set the record straight.


New Era Scoring (NES) is a company whose mission is to bring session work back to Los Angeles area musicians. NES firmly believes that musicians should be able to make individual choices to accept all the work that is offered to them. Since our inception, we have strived to provide accurate and balanced information on Financial Core Status for those AFM members who wish to take control of their individual employment opportunities without risk of fines from their union.
NES is focused on the solution to the problem facing the L.A. recording community. In order to compete in the global scoring economy, NES sees the current need for our professional community to offer clients a simple, competitive buy-out recording package in Los Angeles.

We wish to respond to the recent AFM Local 47 letter which specifically referenced our efforts in proposing Financial Core as a viable option for musicians. We will address portions of the letter, which we believe based on our extensive research, has presented a biased and prejudicial analysis of both Financial Core and New Era Scoring.

(The Local 47 text appears in Brackets. NES response is in normal text)

[“New Era Scoring” & “Financial Core” Status:
Los Angeles company attempts to undercut AFM scales and contracts.]

NES is a company focused on making more work available for Southern California musicians. We target potential clients that have a set precedent of never recording in L.A. because of existing AFM scales and contracts.

[NES has advertised itself as a group of composers, contractors, musicians and engineers who wish to keep scoring in Los Angeles.]

Yes, NES is a consortium of industry pros that have a proactive approach to not just keep scoring work here, but to bring new work that previously has never even considered recording in Los Angeles.

[Further, NES is encouraging AFM members to obtain “Beck/Agency Fee” status (or what NES erroneously refers to as “financial core” status). They argue that with agency fee status, a musician can perform both union and non-union dates without penalty. Sound like a good idea? Not so fast.]

“Financial Core” status (Fi-Core) is a widely known and accepted term for “Beck Status “or “Agency fee”. For the past 6 months, NES has conducted an educational campaign to merely inform, not encourage, AFM members of Fi-Core status as provided for by US law. The AFM has a legal duty to inform its members of the choice between “Full dues” and “Fi-Core” status, but NES has discovered that the vast majority of musicians it has spoken to have never heard of this choice. NES has always offered an unbiased and balanced overview of the choices each individual legally has as an AFM member.

Fi-Core musicians can perform both union and non-union work. This is not NES’ argument, but an established fact under US law. Fi-Core musicians can work union jobs and receive all the benefits of the Collective Bargaining Agreements (the fact is, this is entirely what the financial core dues pay for). Additionally, they can individually choose to work for non-signatory companies to supplement their income without fear of fines. For certain AFM musicians, it may indeed be a very good idea.

[The option to take agency fee status means that a musician must resign from Local 47 and the AFM altogether.]

In a recently filed complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), NES is challenging the AFM assertion that a Fi-Core member resigns ‘altogether’ from the AFM. NES’ legal team states that Financial Core is a form of limited membership in the union, inasmuch as the Fi-Core member continues to pay core dues to support the union’s efforts towards collective bargaining, and pays work dues when performing on union sessions. For a more detailed explanation, refer to:

In N.L.R.B. v. General Motors Corp., 373 U.S. 734 (1963), the Supreme Court held that “…membership, insofar as it has significance to employment rights, may in turn be conditioned only upon payment of fees and dues. ‘Membership’ as a condition of employment is whittled down to its financial core.”

[Should a musician choose to resign from Local 47, he or she will not be listed in the Local 47 members’ directory, and will not have access to members’ services and benefits (including, but not limited to Studio 47, the rehearsal rooms, and the referral service).]

It is true that Fi-Core members cannot have access to Studio 47, the rehearsal rooms, and the referral service. In addition, Fi-Core musicians cannot attend union meetings or vote in union elections. However, it is also true that musicians have full and legal access to all the benefits of various CBA’s when working on a union job, including health and welfare, pension and special payments.

The issue of being de-listed from the Local 47 directory is currently being disputed by NES through an additional complaint with the NLRB. There is no law that mandates the Local to remove the Fi-Core member from the directory; it is a choice they make in order to dissuade the member from exercising his/her legal right to go Fi-Core, thereby disenfranchising the member.

[Musicians who choose agency fee status must pay an agency fee for any and all work performed under an AFM contract. So, agency fee status Musicians pay the local, but enjoy none of its services.]

Musicians pay the local ‘core dues’ to support the union’s efforts toward Collective Bargaining, which is the main reason to be in a union. Most all musicians that NES has spoken to, in fact use few, if any of the services the union offers, with the exception of enabling them to play on a union session.

[In order to achieve their end, NES will offer buyout options to companies in need of original music- no special payments, no residuals, no new-use payments.]

Our ‘end’ is educating players about options they have to make individual choices, with the first hand realization that it is a global scoring economy. In order to be competitive with venues such as Seattle, London and Eastern Europe, NES believes it is imperative to have a buy-out option in place in Los Angeles.

[In order to offer a buyout, NES cannot use AFM agreements. This means that any NES recording session will be a non-union date. Should an AFM member choose to take these sessions, he or she will have no contractual protection from Local 47 or the Federation.]

The hard reality is that non-union dates are being performed in Los Angeles on a daily basis, by union musicians. NES sessions are conducted professionally, and have enabled musicians to supplement their income to make up for the diminishing amount of union work. NES’ Fi-Core sessions are a legal way for LA musicians to work as much as they can without fear of fines.

[Accepting a non-union date also means that no contributions will be made on your behalf to the AFM Pension Fund, the Motion Picture and Television Fund, and/or Local 47’s Health &Welfare Fund. As far as Local 47 understands, NES has offered no alternative for pension planning and/or health coverage for its participants.]

Union members who currently accept non-union dates don’t receive any of the benefits mentioned above. Because of the diminishing union work, many members do not even qualify for health insurance under the Union contract, and must make additional monthly payments to obtain basic coverage. NES actually has had many discussions with musicians about including group health care benefits, as well as concepts such as profit sharing. NES’ long-term plan is to offer these benefit options to musicians on all its sessions.

[Maybe NES isn’t such a good idea after all.]

Local 47’s opposition to NES stems from its need to protect the status quo, which serves a relatively small amount of preferred members in its union. NES believes in leveling the playing field for all Southern California musicians. We are empowering individuals within formation about their rights, and are providing more work for musicians by establishing a buy-out rate for non-signatory clients in order to supplement AFM contract work.

[Regardless of what NES reports, the recording industry knows that premiere professional musicians are AFM musicians. Membership ensures that you will be taken seriously in your craft and that your work will be protected.]

If this is a fact, why does so much of the “recording industry” take its work out of town to record its music?

What makes Southern California musicians the best in the world is their years of dedication to their craft, not full-dues membership in the AFM. NES strongly believes that coupling the premier musicianship of Southern California with a competitive economic package for clients will ensure that our musicians can reclaim much of the work that actually originates in L.A. but leaves town to record.

[Offering a buyout may be a quick fix, but NES will undercut any and all AFM recording agreements, weakening our Union and eventually eliminating the possibility of new-use and special payments.]

Special payments are a valuable benefit and we all want to see them continue to be honored whenever possible. But the reality is that so much session work is already avoiding special payments by going non-union in destinations outside of Los Angeles. NES is bringing these clients back to work in LA. This opportunity ultimately strengthens the union member. Local musicians can then perform both existing AFM Signatory work (under AFM contracts) and Non-signatory work (as Fi-Core musicians) and greatly increase their income opportunities.

[The AFM is aware that “runaway scoring” is one of the most important issues facing our union. Losing recording to non-union cities and countries has cost us and we continue to look for new ways to address the issue. But we know that resigning from the AFM is not the answer. Offering a buyout is not the answer. And NES is not the answer.]

Over the past decade, the AFM has done little about runaway scoring, as evidenced by the continual flight of work to other venues outside of LA. Obviously, the AFM does not offer an answer to this critical issue.

To date, many groups have done a lot of talking about the problems. NES is the only entity implementing a real solution. We’re offering a legal way for non-signatory clients to work here in LA with a buyout agreement. We are paying musicians a competitive wage. We are making it possible for musicians to perform any work they choose without fear of fines or penalties.

NES is strictly motivated by the needs of local musicians. We encourage an open-minded discussion on the many issues facing our industry. Please visit our website at for a wealth of information on Financial Core and NES, and discuss relevant topics on our open forum at

NES is a movement committed to effecting real change for the benefit of all musicians in Southern California. Feel free to contact us at [email protected] to share your thoughts with us.

Thank you,

The New Era Scoring Consortium




There are a couple of inaccuracies in New Era’s statement above. We wanted to clarify them for you.


Core Status dues is approx. 85%-87% of normal dues, however, the dues paid by Core Status musicians covers far more that Contract Negotiations and CBA’s. In fact, it covers absolutely everything normal dues does except political activity.

It does pay the portion of dues that goes to building upkeep and maintenance, support for member services, employee salaries, etc. It does not pay the portion of dues used to fund political parties, political causes or political candidates. While you are paying the dues that SHOULD enable you to use the rehearsal rooms and other services, Federal law allows the Local, if it chooses, to deny these rights as a discouragement to becoming a Core Status Member.

Further, the Local 47 administration under Hal Espinosa; the pandering to the RMALA by the Local and the RMA’s business practices and monopoly of film recording has caused far, far more of the damage to Los Angeles than the AFM National has. This should be news to no one.

Once again the COMMITTEE does not encourage members to go core status, although we understand that it might be a logical choice for some. We much prefer the brotherhood of the Local benefit from the varied experiences of every professional musician.

We need you at the April 23rd membership meeting to help us stop the latest attack on our voice by Gary Lasley and Marc Sazer! Please encourage all your Local 47 Colleagues to attend!

We encourage the RMA, GUILD or LOCAL to write with rebuttals of whatever they feel is inaccurate or unfair in our mailings.

Until Next Time,


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